Could use of force in Ukraine’s east backfire?
Ukraine’s President Oleksander Turchynov has issued an ultimatum to pro-Russian activists and gunmen in the country’s east – lay down your arms and vacate government buildings by Monday morning, otherwise the government will call in the army.
It would seem he has no time to lose. Large parts of eastern Ukraine are slipping out of Kiev’s control.
More and more police stations and government buildings have been falling to the protesters and unidentified militants.
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All the people here are against the government. They may not entirely like the taking over of the police station, but people here are angry”
Yulia Journalist in Sloviansk
Donetsk, Luhansk, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka – these are the cities or towns where the activists have established themselves, with reports of building takeovers in Mariupol and Yenakiyevo.
Ukraine’s state security head, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, was categorical: “We don’t have much time left. Tonight and tomorrow will be crucial.”But, according to the government, this is not a home-grown insurrection.
Mr Turchynov repeated accusations, supported by western officials, that Russia is behind the tumult.
Many of the gunmen carry Russian weapons and look very much like the Kremlin forces who took Crimea.
“The aggressor has not stopped and is continuing to sow disorder in the east of the country,” he said.