Ukraine warns pro-Rus­sian separi­tists

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Au­thor­i­ties say they are pre­pared to use force to clear build­ings oc­cu­pied by pro-Rus­sian sep­a­ratists in coun­try’s east.

Ukrainian au­thor­i­ties have warned they are pre­pared to use force to clear sev­eral govern­ment build­ings seized by proRus­sian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try.

Wed­nes­day’s warn­ing came as pro­test­ers con­tin­ued to oc­cupy the head­quar­ters of Ukraine’s Se­cu­rity Ser­vice in the east­ern city of Luhansk. Hun­dreds of sup­port­ers camped out­side and shout­ing “Putin! Putin!” in sup­port of the Rus­sian Pres­i­dent, the As­so­ci­ated Press news agency re­ported.

Arsen Avakov, the Ukrainian in­te­rior min­is­ter, said the stand­off in Luhansk and the two neigh­bour­ing Rus­sian­lean­ing re­gions of Donetsk and Kharkiv must be re­solved within the next two days.

“I want to re­peat that there are two op­tions: po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment through ne­go­ti­a­tions and the use of force,” Avakov told re­porters. “We are ready for both op­tions.”

Avakov was speak­ing as anti-govern­ment pro­test­ers in Luhansk erected high bar­ri­cades along a thor­ough­fare run­ning in front of the se­cu­rity ser­vice premises.

The Se­cu­rity Ser­vice had ear­lier said that the sep­a­ratists in­side the build­ing, armed with ex­plo­sives and other weapons, al­lowed 56 hostages to leave the build­ing dur­ing the night. A spokes­woman said there were no other hostages.

But Tetyana Po­hukay, a re­gional po­lice spokes­woman, dis­puted that state­ment, say­ing there had never been any hostages in­side, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­fax news agency. The Luhansk se­cu­rity ser­vices build­ing was among sev­eral govern­ment of­fices seized by pro-Moscow groups on Sun­day in an es­ca­la­tion of protests against the in­terim govern­ment in power. Aljazeera

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