Ukraine asks for UN peacekeepers in restive east

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Ukraine asks for UN peacekeepers in restive east
Armed pro-Russian activists stand outside the Ukrainian regional administration building which they seized in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. A pro-Russian mob stormed a Ukrainian police station in Horlivka, another city near the Russian border. Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a military airport outside the city of Slovyansk, also in the Donetsk region bordering Russia. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
In this photo taken on Saturday, April 12, 2014, Armed pro-Russian activists stand outside the police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Kramatorsk. The interior minister overnight reported an attack on a police in the city of Kramatorsk, close to the city of Slovyansk. A video from local news web-site Kramatorsk.info showed a group of camouflaged men armed with automatic weapons storming the building. The news web-site also reported that supporters of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic have occupied the administration building, built a barricade with tires around it and put a Russian flag nearby. (AP Photo/Maxim Dondyuk, Russian Reporter magazine) MAGAZINES OUT
Armed pro-Russian activists stand outside the Ukrainian regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. A pro-Russian mob stormed a Ukrainian police station in Horlivka, another city near the Russian border. Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a military airport outside the city of Slovyansk, also in the Donetsk region bordering Russia. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Pro-Russian men throw stones during the mass storming of a police station in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men attack a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men storm a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka on Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A Pro-Russian activist stands during the mass storming of a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men throw stones during the mass storming of a police station in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A pro-Russian wearing a gas mask storms a police station in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men storm a police station in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men watch during the mass storming of a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Armed pro-Russian activists seize the Ukrainian regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. A pro-Russian mob stormed a Ukrainian police station in Horlivka, another city near the Russian border. Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a military airport outside the city of Slovyansk, in the Donetsk region bordering Russia. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Armed pro-Russian activists seize the Ukrainian regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 14, 2014. A pro-Russian mob stormed a Ukrainian police station in Horlivka, another city near the Russian border. Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a military airport outside the city of Slovyansk, also in the Donetsk region bordering Russia. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
A Pro-Russian activist uses a fire extinguisher during the mass storming of a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian men attack a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka Monday, April 14, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A pro-Russian man throws a stone during the mass storming of a police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka on Monday, April 14, 2014. Text on the building reads: "Horlivka's police". Several government buildings has fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian activists escort a man (unseen) who they say is a provocateur outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine's interior minister said on April 13 that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian activists escort a man who they say is a provocateur (C) outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine's interior minister said on April 13 that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia activists assist an Orthodox priest walk through a barricade outside the regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Kiev said on April 13 that several had been left 'dead and wounded' in fighting to oust pro-Russian gunmen holed up in a police station in the restive eastern city of Slavyansk, as Washington warned Moscow to de-escalate the crisis or face the consequences. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian activists pray near a barricade outside the regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Kiev said on April 13 that several had been left 'dead and wounded' in fighting to oust pro-Russian gunmen holed up in a police station in the restive eastern city of Slavyansk, as Washington warned Moscow to de-escalate the crisis or face the consequences. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
An armed pro-Russian protester kisses a cross hanging on the neck of an Orthodox priest as they guard the regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Kiev said on April 13 that several had been left 'dead and wounded' in fighting to oust pro-Russian gunmen holed up in a police station in the restive eastern city of Slavyansk, as Washington warned Moscow to de-escalate the crisis or face the consequences. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russian protesters guard the regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Kiev said on April 13 that several had been left 'dead and wounded' in fighting to oust pro-Russian gunmen holed up in a police station in the restive eastern city of Slavyansk, as Washington warned Moscow to de-escalate the crisis or face the consequences. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia supporters surround a man who they say is a provocateur (C) outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine's interior minister said on April 13 that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia supporters walk outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine's interior minister said on April 13 that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
People greet an ?rmed pro-Russia supporter outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine's interior minister said on April 13 that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia activists walk near a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russian activists occupy the police station carrying riot shields in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Armed pro-Russian activists occupy the police station carrying riot shields as people watch on, in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
CAPTION CORRECTS THE NAME OF THE TOWN - Armed pro-Russian activists occupying the police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk carry riot shields on in Slovyansk, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
CAPTION CORRECTS THE NAME OF THE TOWN - Armed pro-Russian men occupying the police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk carry riot shields in Slovyansk, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Armed pro-Russian activists occupy the police station carrying riot shields as people watch on, in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Armed pro-Russian activists occupy the police station carrying riot shields as people watch on, in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Armed pro-Russian activist stands at a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance into the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Pro-Russian protesters holding Russian flags gather at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Protesters, who have held the administration building in Donetsk since Sunday, initially called for a referendum on secession but later reduced the demand to a vote on autonomy within Ukraine with the possibility of holding another later on whether to join Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
Residents waving Russian flags ride in a car in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Protesters, who have held the administration building in Donetsk since Sunday, initially called for a referendum on secession but later reduced the demand to a vote on autonomy within Ukraine with the possibility of holding another later on whether to join Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
Armed pro-Russian activists occupy the police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings in the east over the past week, undermining the authority of the interim government in the capital, Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Riot police officers watch as masked pro-Russian activists leave the regional prosecutor's office after their talks, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Saturday morning a group of pro-Russian activists armed with metal sticks seized the office. Later they have left the building after talks with police. Nobody was arrested. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists look out of a window of the regional prosecutor's office they seized and barricaded inside, as riot police stand, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Saturday morning a group of pro-Russian activists armed with metal sticks seized the office. They have left the building after talks with police. Nobody was arrested. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists leave the regional prosecutor's office was riot police, right, watch them, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Saturday morning a group pro-Russian activists armed with metal sticks seized the office. Pro-Russian activists have left the building after talks with police. Nobody was arrested. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A pro-Russian activist squints as he warms himself near a fire outside the headquarters of Ukraine's security agency building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 12, 2014. Separatists demanding a referendum to join Russia seized the building a week ago as a wave of secessionist anger swept eastern Ukraine, whose mainly Russian-speaking population feels under threat from a new pro-Western government in Kiev. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
LUHANSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 12: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) A government building occupied by Pro-Russian protesters is seen on April 12, 2014 in Luhansk, Ukraine. Pro-Russian protesters have occupied the government building in the eastern cities such as Donetsk and Luhansk, declared the independence from Kiev, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told there is no intention to annex the eastern Ukraine. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
LUHANSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 12: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) A government building occupied by Pro-Russian protesters is seen on April 12, 2014 in Luhansk, Ukraine. Pro-Russian protesters have occupied the government building in the eastern cities such as Donetsk and Luhansk, declared the independence from Kiev, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told there is no intention to annex the eastern Ukraine. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
Po-Russian activists hold shields signed 'Obama hands off Ukraine'and 'Down with US and EU' as they guard a barricade outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 12, 2014. Gunmen have taken over a police station in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin militants are already holding state buildings in several cities, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Saturday. 'Armed men in camouflage fatigues have taken the police station in Slavyansk,' Avakov wrote on his Facebook page, adding that 'the reaction will be very strong.' He did not provide any other details.. AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Po-Russian activists warm themselves outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 12, 2014. Gunmen have taken over a police station in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin militants are already holding state buildings in several cities, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Saturday. 'Armed men in camouflage fatigues have taken the police station in Slavyansk,' Avakov wrote on his Facebook page, adding that 'the reaction will be very strong.' He did not provide any other details.. AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia activists prepare Molotov cocktails as they guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-Russia protester guards outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by the armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russia protesters guard a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine on Sunday launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the eastern town of Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian activists stand on a barricade outside a regional police building seized by the armed separatists to prevent storming by the Ukrainian police special team in the eastern city of Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Ukraine today launched an 'anti-terrorist operation' in Slavyansk, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized police and security services buildings, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. 'Units from all of the country's force structures are participating. May God be with us,' the minister wrote on his Facebook page. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
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HORLIVKA, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's acting president urged the United Nations on Monday to send peacekeeping troops to eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian gunmen kept up their rampage of storming and occupying local government offices, police stations and a small airport.

The request came from a government that has proved powerless to rein in separatists in its eastern and southern regions, where insurgents have seized or barricaded government buildings in at least nine cities, demanding more autonomy from the new government in Kiev and closer ties with Russia.

The Kiev government and Western officials accuse Russia of instigating the unrest and of deploying armed Russian agents in civilian clothing to carry them out.

In a telephone call with Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov suggested that an "anti-terrorist operation" be conducted jointly by Ukrainian security forces and U.N. peacekeepers, according to the presidential website.

Peacekeepers, however, would have to be authorized by the U.N. Security Council, where Russia holds a veto.

Turchynov's deadline for insurgents to give up their weapons and vacate their homemade barricades passed Monday without any visible action - instead, the violence continued. A pro-Russian mob stormed a Ukrainian police station in Horlivka, another city near the Russian border. Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a small airport outside the city of Slovyansk, also in the Donetsk region bordering Russia.

"The Russian Federation is sending special units to the east of our country, which seize administrative buildings with the use of weapons and are putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of our citizens in danger," Turchynov said, according to the presidential web-site.

The events echoed those in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last month after key regional facilities were seized by Russian troops aided by local militiamen.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Monday that Putin has received "numerous appeals" from eastern Ukraine "asking him to help and interfere in one way or another." Peskov added that Putin was "watching the developments in those regions with great concern" but wouldn't elaborate.

The developments came as the European Union's foreign ministers met in Luxembourg to consider further sanctions against Russia and three days ahead of a Geneva conference seeking ways to defuse tensions. Diplomats from the United States, Russia, the EU, Ukraine and Switzerland were expected at those one-day talks Thursday.

Russia has warned the Kiev government not to use force against the armed protesters in the east, saying it could thwart the Geneva conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again denied Monday that Russian agents were operating in eastern Ukraine, saying it would contradict Moscow's interests. He challenged Ukraine "not to be shy" about backing its claims of capturing Russian security officers with facts.

In Horlivka, however, one of the men directing the raid on the police headquarters introduced himself as a lieutenant colonel in the Russian army to a line of policemen who had switched sides. He did not give his full name. In a video posted online, the man, dressed in an unmarked green camouflage uniform, urged the policemen to obey their new chief and to attach St. George's ribbons to their uniforms, which have become a symbol of the pro-Russian protesters.

The identity of the man wasn't clear and couldn't be independently confirmed.

Oleksandr Sapunov, who took part in storming the police building in Horlivka, said the insurgents were fighting against appointees of the new Kiev government, including the local police chief, and wanted to appoint their own leadership.

"The people came to tell him that he is a puppet of the Kiev junta and they won't accept him," Sapunov said.

Acting Deputy Interior Minister Mykola Velichkovych acknowledged Monday that some police officers in eastern regions were switching sides.

"In the east we have seen numerous facts of sabotage from the side of police," Velichkovych told reporters.

Ever since Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in late February, Russia has demanded that Ukraine change its constitution to turn the country into a loose federal state. Ukraine has said that its giant neighbor has no business telling it what type of government to have.

After refusing demands for a referendum by separatists in the east, Turchynov indicated Monday that holding a nationwide referendum on Ukraine's status was a possibility. He said such a vote could be held May 25, along with the presidential election.

Turchynov expressed confidence that Ukrainians would vote against turning the country into a federation and against its breakup.

Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, who was believed to be Yanukovych's backer, issued a statement Monday calling for an end to the violence and urging talks.

The West has accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest.

"The fact is that many of the armed units that we've seen were outfitted in bulletproof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said during a U.N, Security Council session Sunday. "These armed units ... raised Russian and separatist flags over seized buildings and have called for referendums and union with Russia. We know who is behind this."

Vadim Karasyov, a political analyst in Kiev, said the Kremlin was using Ukraine's ousted president to help foment separatist tensions.

"The Kremlin is implementing its scenario in the east, using Yanukovych and his loyalists, while Russian instructors are running the show," Karasyov said.

For the last two months, Russia has also had tens of thousands of troops massed along Ukraine's eastern border. Western governments have expressed fears that Moscow might use the violence in the mainly Russian-speaking region as a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, in a repeat of events in Crimea last month.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin denied Western and Ukrainian claims that Moscow was behind the violence, telling U.N. diplomats that people in eastern Ukraine are worried about "radical nationalists." He also accused Ukraine's interim government of "waging a war against its own people."

"Some people, including in this chamber, do not want to see the real reasons for what is happening in Ukraine and are constantly seeing the hand of Moscow in what is going on," Churkin said. "Enough. That is enough."
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