Clashes spread across eastern Ukraine; up to 5 pro-Russian activists reported killed

Video: Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the Ukrainian government's use of force in light of clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists near the city of Slovyansk on hursday! By William Booth and Michael Birnbaum, Updated: hursday, !pril "#, $":"% &M
Clashes spread across eastern Ukraine-Gallery

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian security forces killed “up to five” pro !ussian activists "#ursday in t#e restive eastern part of t#e country, t#e Ukrainian $nterior %inistry said, as !ussian &resident Vladi'ir &utin conde'ned any use of t#e Ukrainian 'ilitary a(ainst its o)n citi*ens+ "#e pro !ussian activists )ere killed in fi(#tin( at t#ree c#eckpoints surroundin( t#e city of Slovyansk, and one Ukrainian soldier )as )ounded, t#e $nterior %inistry said in a state'ent+ "#e violence ,roke out as clas#es involvin( Ukrainian security forces, local protesters and pro !ussian 'ilitants spread across eastern Ukraine, )it# ot#er fi(#tin( reported at an ar's depot and a city #all+ "#e !ussian 'ilitary launc#ed “tactical drills” "#ursday in t#e re(ions ,orderin( Ukraine in response to events across t#e frontier, !ussian -efense %inister Ser(ei S#oi(u said at a 'eetin( in %osco)+ $f Ukraine.s “)ar 'ac#ine” does not #alt, S#oi(u said, it )ill lead to a lar(e nu',er of

casualties+ “/e #ave to react to suc# a develop'ent,” #e said+ "#e !ussian defense 'inister said t#e drills )ould include aerial e0ercises near t#e ,order+ "#e leadin( candidate in Ukraine.s upco'in( presidential election, for'er forei(n 'inister &etro &oros#enko, said t#ree !ussian 'ilitary #elicopters crossed t#e ,order and entered Ukrainian airspace+ 1e said t#e event )as ,ein( investi(ated+ No !ussian troops #ave crossed t#e ,order, #e said+ “Ukraine )ants !ussia to stop t#e constant t#reats and ,lack'ail and to )it#dra) its troops fro' t#e ,order,” Ukraine.s actin( president, Oleksandr "urc#ynov, said "#ursday+ &utin spoke forcefully a(ainst t#e Ukrainian 'ilitary action as t#e clas#es )ere under)ay+ “$f t#e Kiev re(i'e #as started to use t#e ar'y a(ainst t#e population inside t#e country, it, ,eyond any dou,t, is a very serious cri'e,” &utin said at a 'edia foru' in St+ &eters,ur(+ $n eastern Ukraine, t#e first si(ns e'er(ed t#at t#e state )as reesta,lis#in( its aut#ority+ Outside t#e re(ional capital of -onetsk, c#eckpoints t#at on /ednesday )ere occupied ,y local anti Kiev 'ilitias )ere ,ein( 'anned "#ursday afternoon ,y 'e',ers of t#e Ukrainian national police+ /earin( crisply pressed unifor's and carryin( auto'atic rifles, t#e police stopped ve#icles and inspected identification cards+ "#ey knocked do)n tents and tire ,arricades erected earlier ,y t#e pro !ussia 'ilitias on t#e #i(#)ays+ "#ere )as also at least one ne) 'ilitary c#eckpoint occupied ,y tanks and 'e',ers of a Ukrainian air,orne unit on a road outside Slovyansk+ "#e tank (unner, )#o identified #i'self only ,y #is first na'e, Vyac#eslav, said t#e unit.s 'ission )as to open car trunks and look for )eapons+ $n a ne)s conference in "okyo on t#e first stop of an Asian trip, &resident O,a'a said t#e United States #as “teed up” additional sanctions t#at could ,e i'posed a(ainst !ussia unless &utin does 'ore to encoura(e pro !ussian 'ilitants in eastern Ukraine to put do)n t#eir ar's+ “"#ere.s al)ays t#e possi,ility t#at to'orro) or t#e ne0t day !ussia takes anot#er course,” O,a'a said+ “-o $ t#ink t#ey.re (oin( to do t#at2 So far t#e evidence doesn.t 'ake 'e #opeful+” $n Slovyansk, )#ic# international o,servers #ave said is effectively controlled ,y ar'ed pro !ussian activists, a %osco) supporter )#o calls #i'self t#e “people.s 'ayor” t#reatened to protect #is 'en )it# #osta(es+ “A,out 34 'inutes a(o, an ar'ed clas# erupted on t#e outskirts of Slovyansk,” %iroslav !udenko, a leader of t#e -onetsk re(ion.s pro !ussian “self defense 'ilitia,” told t#e %osco) ,ased $nterfa0 ne)s a(ency+ “!eports of one fatality and one in5ured person are ,ein( verified+ Ot#er road,locks located near t#e e0its fro' t#e city #ave ,een attacked as )ell+”

!udenko added6 “At t#e 'o'ent it is very difficult to reac# our 'ilitia 'e',ers on t#eir cellp#ones+ A 7co',at situation. #as e'er(ed in t#e city+ $ do not rule out t#at cellp#one services could #ave ,een cut off+” $t )as unclear )#o )as attackin( t#e c#eckpoints in Slovyansk+ Local residents reported t#at Ukrainian 'ilitary #elicopters )ere in t#e area, ,ut t#e reports could not i''ediately ,e confir'ed+ "#e Ukrainian -efense %inistry said 84 unidentified ar'ed 'en, usin( auto'atic )eapons and (renades, attacked an ar's depot at Arte'ovsk+ "#e 'inistry said Ukrainian security forces repelled t#e attack and t#at one Ukrainian soldier )as )ounded+ Local residents said t#ey ,elieved t#e attack ca'e fro' anti Kiev activists seekin( access to t#e )eapons depot+ Ser#iy "aruta, t#e interi' (overnor of t#e -onetsk re(ion and one of t#e ric#est 'en in Ukraine, said in an intervie) t#at t#e 'ilitant pro !ussian separatists in cities suc# as Slovyansk represent only a s'all percenta(e of t#e local population+ “"#ere is a local pro,le', and lots of cri'inal or #alf cri'inal ele'ents are en(a(ed in lootin(, plunderin( and, unfortunately, killin(,” #e said+ “"#e police #ave not ,een a,le to )ork effectively a(ainst t#ese forces+” "aruta said #e and #is tea' #ave ,een actively ne(otiatin( )it# t#e pro !ussian activists and anti Kiev protesters )#o #ave taken over or surrounded pu,lic ,uildin(s across t#e re(ion+ Accordin( to $nterior %inister Arsen Avakov, t#e 9ity 1all in %ariupol, a sout#eastern Ukrainian port city on t#e Sea of A*ov, #as ,een cleared of pro !ussian protesters )#o #ad ,een occupyin( it for 'ore t#an a )eek+ Avakov said t#e 'ayor )as ,ack at )ork+ &ro !ussian protesters and 'asked (un'en #ave ,een occupyin( (overn'ent ,uildin(s across eastern Ukraine for nearly t)o )eeks and refusin( to reco(ni*e Ukraine.s fled(in( (overn'ent+ Avakov )rote in a :ace,ook post "#ursday t#at t#e %ariupol 9ity 1all “#as ,een freed to resu'e )ork+” ;ut eye)itnesses in t#e city said t#e anti Kiev protesters )#o )ere occupyin( t#e ,uildin( )ere first attacked overni(#t ,y a (roup of 'asked 'en ar'ed )it# clu,s+ :ive people )ere taken to a #ospital for treat'ent of in5uries+ !ussia )arned /ednesday t#at it )as prepared to retaliate a(ainst any attack on its citi*ens or interests in Ukraine+ "#e escalation ca'e as U+S+ paratroopers landed in &oland to ,e(in trainin( e0ercises intended

to de'onstrate support for A'erican allies in t#e re(ion+ “$f )e are attacked, )e )ould certainly respond,” !ussian :orei(n %inister Ser(ei Lavrov told t#e !" television net)ork in %osco), recallin( t#e five day )ar ,et)een !ussia and <eor(ia in Au(ust =44>, )#en %osco) acted to protect pro !ussian secessionists in t#e ,reaka)ay <eor(ian re(ion of Sout# Ossetia+ “$f our interests, our le(iti'ate interests, t#e interests of !ussians, #ave ,een attacked directly, like t#ey )ere in Sout# Ossetia, for e0a'ple, $ do not see any ot#er )ay ,ut to respond in accordance )it# international la),” #e said+ “!ussian citi*ens ,ein( attacked is an attack a(ainst t#e !ussian :ederation,” Lavrov said+ 1e also accused t#e United States of directin( t#e actions of t#e Ukrainian (overn'ent in a “#ands on 'anner,” notin( t#at Ukraine #ad ordered /ednesday.s 'ilitary action only after a "uesday visit fro' Vice &resident ;iden+ $n /as#in(ton, State -epart'ent spokes)o'an ?en &saki said it )as “ludicrous” for Lavrov to clai' “t#at t#e United States #as anyt#in( to do )it# Ukraine.s counterterroris' operation or t#at + + + )e.re runnin( t#e s#o) or fundin( it+” S#e called Lavrov.s re'arks “counterproductive and infla''atory” and noted t#at #e (ave no indication of a !ussian plan to i'ple'ent last )eek.s <eneva a(ree'ent to use %osco).s influence to disar' t#e separatists and pus# for occupied ,uildin(s to ,e vacated+ &resident O,a'a said last )eek t#at #e #oped to see !ussia follo) t#rou(# “over t#e ne0t several days” on t#e a(ree'ent, reac#ed )it# t#e United States, Ukraine and t#e @uropean Union+ After /#ite 1ouse 'eetin(s t#is )eek, officials said t#ey anticipated t#at U+S+ asset free*es and visa ,ans )ould ,e announced a(ainst a ne) set of pro'inent !ussians ,y :riday+ Lavrov.s declaration, )#ic# ec#oes )arnin(s (iven ,y !ussia ,efore its anne0ation of 9ri'ea last 'ont#, follo)ed t#e discovery in eastern Ukraine of t#e ,ody of a local politician )#o supported Ukrainian unity+ 1e #ad ,een tortured and du'ped in a river after ,ein( a,ducted last )eek, Ukrainian aut#orities said /ednesday+ “"#e terrorists )#o effectively took t#e )#ole -onetsk re(ion #osta(e #ave no) (one too far,” Ukraine.s actin( president, Oleksandr "urc#ynov, said after officials identified t#e sta,,ed and ,ruised ,ody of Volody'yr !y,ak+ 1is corpse and t#at of an unidentified 'an )ere found Saturday near Slovyansk, a city t#at international o,servers say is controlled ,y ar'ed pro !ussian activists+ “"#ese cri'es are ,ein( co''itted )it# t#e full support and connivance of t#e !ussian :ederation,” "urc#ynov said+ !y,ak )as kidnapped last "#ursday ,y four 'en in 'ilitary unifor's )#o #ustled #i' into a ve#icle outside 9ity 1all in 1orlivka, a depressed industrial and 'inin( city a,out =A 'iles nort#east of t#e re(ional capital, -onetsk+ !y,ak, a local council 'e',er, #ad tried to lo)er t#e fla( of t#e “-onetsk &eople.s !epu,lic” at 9ity 1all and replace it )it# t#e

Ukrainian fla(+ !y,ak.s )ife, @lena, said in an intervie) soon after #er #us,and )as taken t#at s#e feared t#e )orst+ “1e )as a police and kno)s #o) to defend #i'self,” s#e said+ “1e )ould not #ave (one any)#ere )it#out a fi(#t+” 1er #ands s#ook as s#e #eld a cellp#one, )aitin( for a call+ A friend told #er t#at !y,ak )ould call soon+ “$ don.t t#ink so,” s#e said+ S#e and #er adult son identified !y,ak.s ,ody /ednesday+ Vasilii %iro*#nik, )#o kne) !y,ak )ell at 9ity 1all, said, “1e )as a re(ular (uy, a popular (uy, )it# stron( opinions, al)ays fi(#tin( for 5ustice+” %iro*#nik )ore a Ukrainian fla( pin on #is lapel+ Asked a,out it, #e said, “/#y not2 $t.s 'y country+ $ a' proud of it+” :or 'any residents #ere, t#e fla( t#ey fly — Ukrainian or !ussian — is of profound i'portance+ $n t#e past fe) days, people )#o )ant to re'ain in a united Ukraine — t#ou(# )it# 'ore self (overn'ent and 'ore say over ,ud(et issues — #ave ,e(un to assert t#e'selves in rallies and flas# 'o,s or(ani*ed over social 'edia+ <ro)in( violence "#ere #as ,een a rise in reports of ,eatin(s, disappearances and detentions in recent days+ On "uesday in Kra'atorsk , t#e police c#ief )as taken out of #is station ,y ar'ed 'en, t#e deputy 'ayor )as ,eaten and t#e Security Service ,uildin( )as sei*ed+ "#e Kyiv &ost ne)spaper reported /ednesday t#at B= people #ave ,een kidnapped over t#e past )eek in Slovyansk and 1orlivka+ “$t.s c#aos,” said Yurii C#uk, a fello) deputy on t#e 1orlivka 9ity 9ouncil )it# !y,ak+ 1e said #e did not kno) )#o kidnapped and killed !y,ak+ “"#ey.re outsiders,” #e said+ “!adical ele'ents+” C#uk said t#at “t#e police )ere useless+” $n a video taken ri(#t ,efore !y,ak )as kidnapped, police officers in ,lue unifor's are visi,le in t#e cro)d+ “"#ey.re de'orali*ed,” C#uk said+ “"#ey.re divided+” Ole( <u,anov, anot#er 9ity 9ouncil 'e',er, said t#e killin( of !y,ak and ot#er violence are driven ,y “t#ird parties )#o )ant to desta,ili*e t#e situation+” Several Ukrainian reporters #ave ,een arrested+ And an A'erican 5ournalist, Si'on Ostrovsky, )#o )orks for Vice Ne)s, #as ,een detained in Slovyansk since "uesday+ "#e leader of t#e pro !ussian forces in t#e city, Vyac#eslav &ono'aryov, said /ednesday t#at Ostrovsky #ad ,een detained ,y “self defense forces,” $nterfa0 reported+ “Accordin( to our infor'ation, #e is an infor'er for &ravy Sektor,” t#e ri(#t )in( Ukrainian nationalist or(ani*ation, &ono'aryov

told t#e ne)s a(ency+ “"#e 5ournalist #as nor'al livin( conditions and is ,ein( fed,” #e said+ "o t#e nort# and )est of Ukraine, a co'pany of BD4 U+S+ paratroopers landed in &oland on /ednesday to ,e(in e0ercises )it# t#e &olis# 'ilitary, a 'ove t#at #as ,een (reeted )it# relief ,y @astern @uropean leaders )#o fear !ussian 'ilitary actions near t#eir ,orders+ "#ree ot#er si'ilar si*e co'panies of U+S+ troops )ill ,e sent to Lit#uania, Latvia and @stonia in t#e ne0t several days+ ;irn,au' reported fro' %osco)+ /ill @n(lund in %osco), ?uliet @ilperin in "okyo and Karen -eYoun( in /as#in(ton contri,uted to t#is report+ E "#e /as#in(ton &ost 9o'pany

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