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Kiev Says Protest Crackdown in East Switches to ‘Inactive Phase’

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Special operations to crack down on protests in eastern Ukraine are continuing, but have switched to an “inactive phase” following an agreement at four-party talks in Geneva on Thursday, the country’s Security Service said Friday.

KIEV, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Special operations to crack down on protests in eastern Ukraine are continuing, but have switched to an “inactive phase” following an agreement at four-party talks in Geneva on Thursday, the country’s Security Service said Friday.

“In line with the Easter holidays and the Geneva agreements, operations are now in an inactive phase. Headquarters is working and re-planning is underway,” the Ligabiznesinform news agency cited Marina Ostapenko as saying.

The spokeswoman said law enforcement have opened 12 criminal cases concerning the unrest, including on charges of subversive actions, separatism and terrorism.

Kiev has no plans to halt the operation in eastern Ukraine and its intensity will depend on how the Geneva agreements are being fulfilled, including vacating occupied administrative buildings and laying down arms, acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Friday.

The acting minister added that officials plans to meet with members of a monitoring mission to Ukraine by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss their possible participation in the negotiations.

“If these people are ready to vacate buildings, to lay down their weapons today or tomorrow, we are ready to encourage the OSCE [to participate] in negotiations on implementing the [de-escalation] agreement, to make them mediators in these talks,” he said, adding that otherwise “certain actions” against the protesters will follow.

He added the Kiev government expects the protesters to act in line with the existing agreements and to take advantage of the opportunity “that was granted to them by the Ukrainian authorities.”

Southeastern Ukraine has been swept by rallies since last month. Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic’s reunification with Russia.

In response, Ukrainian authorities launched a special operation to crack down on the protests.

Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union met in Geneva Thursday where they agreed a set of measures to de-escalate the tensions. Mediators called on the warring parties to disband illegally armed groups, surrender all occupied government buildings and remove protesters from streets and squares. They also urged the Kiev regime to pardon demonstrators that had not committed capital crimes.

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