Russia warns of civil war in Ukraine

Vienna, April 15: Russia is concerned that the use of armed force against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine may lead to civil war, Moscow’s ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Monday.

“In Moscow we strongly believe it (the use of armed force) might lead to a civil war. We are very worried,” Xinhua quoted Andrey Kelin as saying after emerging from an OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine.

Russia has been saying that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, since it wasn’t in Russia’s interest to have troops there.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov Monday called on the UN to send peacekeeping forces to the east of the country, where pro-Russia protesters seized several administrative buildings.

During a telephone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Turchynov proposed to conduct a joint “anti-terror operation” with the participation of Ukrainian special forces and UN peacekeepers in Ukraine’s crisis-hit eastern regions.

The Ukraine-UN mission would show that “Ukrainian officers act in accordance with the law during their anti-terror operations,” he said.

Turchynov ordered a “counter-terror operation” in eastern Ukraine after pro-Moscow activists seized several government buildings there, demanding closer ties with Russia and a referendum on autonomy.

Tensions in eastern Ukraine escalated Sunday following an armed confrontation between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Moscow protesters, which killed at least one person and injured 10 others.

IANS