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Ukraine prime minister demands Russia stop 'exporting terrorism'

Published on Apr 16, 2014 4:44 PM
 
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk (right) delivers a speech as he attends a meeting in Donetsk, on April 11, 2014.  Ukraine's prime minister on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, accused Russia of "exporting terrorism" to Ukraine by using covert forces to organise armed separatists who he said had attacked Ukrainian forces and occupied state buildings. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's prime minister on Wednesday accused Russia of "exporting terrorism" to Ukraine by using covert forces to organise armed separatists who he said had attacked Ukrainian forces and occupied state buildings.

"The Russian government must immediately call off its intelligence-diver.sionary groups, condemn the terrorists and demand that they free the buildings," Mr Arseny Yatseniuk told a government meeting. "That is, if the Russian Federation is interested in stabilising the situation, which I have significant doubts about," he added.

Meanwhile, six armoured troop carriers entered the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk on Wednesday carrying the Russian national flag and the banner of pro-Russian separatists, a Reuters eyewitness said.

Several armed men, who wore different types of battle fatigues and appeared to be pro-Russia activists, sat atop each of the vehicles. The vehicles stopped outside the town's city hall which has for several days been occupied by separatists.

The second vehicle carried the emblem of the Donetsk People's Republic which a group of separatists proclaimed last week and which the Kiev authorities see as a first step to seeking to break from Ukraine and join with Russia.

The men on top of the troop carriers, some of whom were masked, were armed with Kalashnikov rifles, grenade launchers, knives and pistols. The convoy came in from the direction of Kramatorsk, 15km to the south, where Ukrainian airborne troops on Tuesday secured control over a military airfield. The armed men waved to people as they drove into the town where separatists occupy several buildings including the police headquarters and the offices of the state security service.

Some people waved back and shouted: "Well done lads !"

People also chanted "Russia" Russia!"

There was no sign of Ukrainian troops in the city despite an announcement by Kiev authorities on Tuesday that a military-backed "anti-terrorist" operation was being extended to Slaviansk after the military action in Kramatorsk.

The origin of the troop carriers was not immediately clear.