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Moscow 'reserves right to protect compatriots' in whole of Ukraine

Published on Mar 14, 2014 6:35 PM
 
Participants of an anti-war rally (left) clash with pro-Russian supporters during their rallies in Donetsk on March 13, 2014. Russia said on Friday it reserved the right to protect its compatriots in the whole of Ukraine, after a protester was killed in fresh clashes in the east of the country. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia said on Friday it reserved the right to protect its compatriots in the whole of Ukraine, after a protester was killed in fresh clashes in the east of the country.

The statement appears to dramatically raise the stakes in the Ukrainian crisis, and will be seen as Russia hinting it may move its forces beyond the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea.

"Russia recognises its responsibility for the life of its compatriots and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the right to protect people," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A pro-Kiev protester was stabbed and killed on Thursday and several were injured in clashes in the Russian-speaking Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the first death since tensions erupted in the south-east of the country after pro-Russian forces took control of Crimea.

 
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