Russia Denounces Ukraine's Operation Against Pro-Russians, Ukraine Claims Moscow Behind Attacks
Ukraine interim President Oleksandr Turchynov announced Kyiv will launch a “full-scale anti-terrorist operation” in east Ukraine and accused Russia of coordinating the attacks by the pro-Russian forces. Moscow fired back and the Foreign Ministry said the operation is “criminal.”
The ministry said the West should bring its allies in Ukraine's government under control. "It is now the West's responsibility to prevent civil war in Ukraine," it said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"The situation in southeastern Ukraine is taking on an extremely dangerous character. The authorities in Kiev, who put themselves in power as a result of a coup d'etat, have set a course to use force to put down popular protests," the statement said.
"We decisively condemn attempts to use brute force against protesters and activists ... We are particularly indignant about the criminal order of (Ukrainian Acting President Oleksander Turchinov) to use the army to put down protest."
However, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said they can prove Russia was behind the attacks. No specifics are released at this time, but will be shown on April 17 in Geneva.
Andrei Illarionov, former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, also thinks Russia is aiding the pro-Russians in Ukraine.
“I have to stress, this is an intervention, an insurgency of Russian special forces, not a separatist riot on the territory of Ukraine. If the problem is not solved within three days, the territories of Ukraine will be lost,” said Illarionov.
Some of Ukraine's security specialists say that the Russian military operation is supported by genuine separatist sentiment in the east.
“It's not a clean insurgence. There are, unfortunately, also separatist moods, and people think Kyiv is full of 'Banderites' and set them up,” says one senior source from a security agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitivity of the issue. "Banderites" refers to supporters of Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), who is reviled by the Kremlin as a Nazi collaborator.
“If it was just clearly Russian invasion, the operation would be much cleaner,” the source said.
The Kyiv Post presented a few points that show why it is possible Russia is involved. The main pieces of evidence are Russian weapons and well-trained men. The forces carried AK-100 automatic rifles, which are a standard Russian weapon and not part of the Ukrainian army. Men were seen with green armbands and dressed similar to “concerned citizens” in Crimea.