KIEV - Ukraine’s acting president has pledged “anti-terrorist measures” as the government declared the actions of pro-Russian protesters in the country east a “second stage” of special operations by Russia under way to break up the troubled state.
Oleksander Turchinov, in a televised appeal on Monday, said that the action in the cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk showed that Russia was “playing out the Crimean scenario” - a reference to the pro-Russian takeover of the peninsula and its annexation by Russia.
“We will not allow this,” he said. Warning that some activists had taken up arms, Turchinov said: “ Anti-terrorist measures will be carried out against those who had taken up weapons.”
Earlier on Monday, pro-Moscow protesters occupying a regional administration building in Donetsk declared the creation of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” as an independent state.
“In the event of aggressive action from the illegitimate Kiev authorities, we will appeal to the Russian Federation to bring in a peacekeeping contingent,” said the proclamation, voiced by an unidentified bearded man.
The activists later read out the text by loud hailer to a cheering crowd of about 1,000 people outside the building.
Ukraine already said it will not allow further foreign troop to enter its borders.
“An anti-Ukrainian plan is being put into operation ... under which foreign troops will cross the border and seize the territory of the country,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told a cabinet meeting in Kiev. “We will not allow this.”
Demand of referendums
After seizing official buildings in of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk on Sunday night, pro-Russian activists demanded that referendums be held on whether to join Russia like the one that preceded Moscow’s takeover of Crimea.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Monday the main regional administration building in Kharkiv had been cleared of “separatists”. But police in Luhansk said protesters occupying the state security building there had seized weapons. Highway police had closed off roads into the city.
“Unknown people who are in the building have broken into the building’s arsenal and have seized weapons,” a police statement said. Nine people had been hurt in the disturbances in Luhansk.
Avakov on Sunday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating the “separatist disorder” and promised that disturbances would be brought under control without violence.
Late on Monday, Russian foreign ministry issued a statement, saying: “Stop... blaiming all the troubles of today’s Ukraine on it (Moscow).”
“If irresponsible treatment of one’s country, one’s nation, by the political forces who call themselves the Ukrainian authorities continues, Ukraine will inevitably be facing new troubles and crises,” it said.