1:37 am - Wednesday December 13, 2017

Russia Warns Ukraine of Civil War in the Southeast

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Russia not to dispute Canada's claim on North Pole
Russia not to dispute Canada's claim on North Pole

Russia is warning Ukraine to pull back security forces from the southeast or risk civil war.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said Tuesday that those taking part in what it calls military preparations are threatening the lives of peaceful Ukrainians. It says their actions are fraught with civil war.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says forces carrying out an anti-terrorist operation drove out pro-Russian demonstrators who seized a government building in the city of Kharkiv.

Avakov says 70 protesters were arrested.

Pro-Russian demonstrators took over buildings Sunday in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk. They are demanding referendums on splitting with Ukraine — the same kind of vote that took place last month in Crimea.

The White House says it has evidence that some of the protesters are not local Russian-speakers but were brought in from elsewhere and paid to start trouble.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to ask Russia to disavow those Kerry calls separatists and saboteurs.

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