KIEV. Ukraine’s interim president on Tuesday, February 25, warned of “dangerous signs” of separatism amid fears that pro-Russian eastern regions could agitate for partition as the country tries to resolve its worst post-Soviet crisis.
“In several regions of Ukraine there are very dangerous signs of separatism,” Oleksandr Turchynov told parliament.
He said he was consulting with security forces over the issue.
“It is necessary to localize this quickly,” Turchynov said, without giving specific details or locations.
Western countries have warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity after the weekend ousting of Kremlin-allied president Viktor Yanukovych following the killing of scores of demonstrators in Kiev.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday toned down Moscow’s rhetoric, confirming Russia’s “position of non-intervention in Ukraine’s internal affairs.”
The avalanche of change in the deeply divided ex-Soviet state came after months of protests intially sparked by Yanukovych decision to spurn a historic pact with the EU in favor of closer ties – and a now-stalled $15 billion bailout – from former master Russia.
While the Western-leaning revolution has mobilized the country’s Ukrainian-speaking population, at least some in the industrial heartland in the east appeared to be angered by the changes.