Ukraine's 'Anti-Terrorist' Operation Continues

World | April 23, 2014, Wednesday // 11:38|  views

Pro-Russian men in military uniform walk near of the seized city hall in Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered that actions against rebel groups in the east and south of the country be renewed.

His decision was announced short after two men were found dead after being "brutally tortured", in Turchynov's words quoted by the BBC.

Among the men was Volodymyr Rybak, who is part of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's party Batkivshchina (Fatherland) and was a councilor for the party in the nearby town of Horlivka.

Rybak was earlier reported missing, and the head of state now suggested he had been abducted by "terrorists".

Turchynov claimed that the last murders had been committed with the support of Russia.

The military operation aimed at ending the takeover of public buildings across eastern and southern Ukraine came to a halt over the Easter celebrations.

Violence however continued despite the Easter truce, as three men died in a shooting near the town of Slaviansk on Sunday. This incident also came days after an agreement which was signed in Geneva on steps to deal with the unrest.

Russia and the US meanwhile have continued attempts to agree on measures to tackle the unrest.

In a phone conversation, the US Secretary of State John Kerry warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that further sanctions might be approved against Moscow if it does not de-escalate tensions.

US officials have repeatedly that alleged Russia is providing assistance to Ukrainian separatists, while the Kremlin says the situation has worsened in the country after Kiev's leadership failed to abide by the Geneva accord agreed last week.

Speaking to Lavrov, Kerry insisted that Russia should pursue diplomatic action in the east and call on rebel groups that have taken over public buildings to withdraw and disarm.

On Tuesday, the US announced further financial assistance to Ukraine, as Vice President Joe Biden said his country would provide USD 50 M more for political and economic reforms.

USD 11 M of them are to be put aside for the upcoming presidential elections.

During his official visit to Kiev, in which he met Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Turchynov, Biden called for a "one united Ukraine" and urged Russia to stop supporting "men hiding behind masks" and "sewing unrest in Eastern Ukraine".

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Tags: Tuchynov, Rybak, operation, rebel, separatist, Russia, Ukraine, Lavrov, Kerry, Biden, US


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