World / Europe

Five killed in Ukraine's 'anti-terror' operation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-25 10:43

Five killed in Ukraine's 'anti-terror' operation

A Ukrainian soldier at a roadblock, retaken after the Ukrainian army passed through, April 24, 2014. [Photo/]

Five killed in Ukraine's 'anti-terror' operation

 Ukraine crisis

KIEV/MOSCOW - At least five people were killed and one wounded Thursday during an "anti-terror" operation in an eastern Ukrainian city, while Russia's top diplomat said the United States should use its influence to make Kiev fulfill its commitment to the Geneva agreement.

During "counter-terror" actions at three checkpoints set by a pro-Russia militia outside the city of Slavyansk, five "separatist militants" were killed, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The statement added that a Ukraine officer was injured, without giving further details.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian government resumed the active phase of its "anti-terror" operation in eastern regions after pro-Russia activists allegedly kidnapped and tortured several journalists and murdered a pro-government politician.

Kiev suspended its "counter-terror" measures last week following an agreement with Russia, the United States and the European Union (EU) in Geneva, which calls on all sides of the conflict to refrain from violence.

Also on Thursday, Ertogrul Apakan, an official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the truce accord had faltered as its signatories failed to perform their obligations.

"The reported tortures and murders ... are very serious events that bode ill," Apakan, the head of the OSCE mission to Ukraine, told local reporters in Kiev.

Under the agreement, the OSCE would oversee the disarmament of militants and the evacuation of occupied buildings and streets in Ukraine's eastern regions, where pro-Moscow activists demanded a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.

Describing the kidnapping of journalists in Ukraine as "absolutely unacceptable actions," Apakan said recent developments in the country's eastern regions were the evidence of a significant escalation of the already tense situation.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, told reporters that Moscow believed the main condition to solve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine was to "stop illegal actions of current Kiev authorities which should understand their responsibility for everything agreed upon in Geneva."

"It was said clearly that there should not be any violence. Use of army, and moreover with backing on radical nationalists, against people is an absolutely unacceptable form of violence," Lavrov said, adding that Washington "can and should use" all its influence over Kiev.

Meanwhile, he called on Ukrainian authorities to consider demands from its regions and reach a compromise with its people. "This is a way for Ukrainians to determine their own fate and build up statehood without impact from the outside," he said.

Earlier in the day, when delivering a speech at the Global University Forum in Moscow, Lavrov urged Kiev to "make the first steps towards a national reconciliation in Ukraine."

According to him, the United States and the EU attempted to stage "another Color Revolution" in Ukraine, which was an operation for "an unconstitutional change of regime."

The top Russian diplomat also said the West was using Ukraine as a pawn in a political game, as Washington did not support the establishment of a government of national unity in Ukraine.

A new wave of unrest erupted in Ukraine's east early in April, when pro-Moscow activists seized government buildings in the cities of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov.

Kiev has repeatedly blamed Moscow for inciting the unrest and splitting Ukraine. Russia denies the charges.

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