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West Has Chance to Avert Civil War in Ukraine – Russian UN Envoy

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Russia calls on the international community to demand that Ukrainian authorities stop civil war in the crisis-hit country, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Monday.

UNITED NATIONS, April 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia calls on the international community to demand that Ukrainian authorities stop civil war in the crisis-hit country, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Monday.

“The international community should demand that the Maidan stooges end the war against their own people,” Churkin said at an urgent Security Council meeting that discussed the situation in southeastern Ukraine.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov gave pro-federalization protesters Sunday a deadline up to 10 am Moscow time to disarm or face a “full-scale anti-terrorist operation” involving the country’s armed forces.

The move came after Ukrainian security forces launched an operation to suppress protesters in Slaviansk, in the east Ukrainian Donetsk region, on Sunday. At least one person was killed and nine others were injured in clashes, local health authorities said, while activists claimed at least three people died.

Churkin said the situation in southeastern Ukraine was “dangerous” and called to immediately prevent the further escalation of the conflict.

The diplomat also stressed the necessity to fulfill the commitments under the February 21 EU-brokered reconciliation agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, announcing early presidential and parliamentary elections and establishing a national unity government.

Shortly after, the Ukrainian parliament, backed by far-right movements, ousted from power Yanukovych, amended the constitution and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.

Churkin called on the Western sponsors of Maidan protesters to make their “fosterlings” dissociate themselves from the neo-Nazis and other extremists and stop using armed forces against the Ukrainian people.

The UN envoy said this will create the conditions for starting a national dialogue involving “all the country’s regions” to carry out a swift constitutional reform in Ukraine.

“The possibility to avert civil war in Ukraine depends on the West,” Churkin said.

Beginning last month, protests in east Ukrainian cities have been held each weekend, with citizens refusing to accept their newly-appointed governors as legitimate, as they were installed by the government that seized power in a coup in February.

Residents of the country’s east, where many are Russian speakers, fear the rise of ultranationalist forces in the country's central government and demand greater autonomy, including in issues of official language and regional government.

The rallies intensified last weekend, with protesters in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv seizing regional government buildings. Pro-federalization activists declared creation of the People’s Republic of Kharkiv and Donetsk People’s Republic last Monday.

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