BRUSSELS, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union is calling on the interim government in Kiev to refrain from violence that could further deteriorate the situation in protest-hit eastern regions, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday.
The remark came in response to Tuesday’s statement by Ukraine’s coup-appointed acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, who demanded that special services “resume and conduct productive anti-terrorist operations” against pro-federalization protesters.
“While recognizing the right of Ukraine to take legitimate actions to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we also call on the authorities to refrain from the use of violence that could further deteriorate the situation on the ground,” Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, told journalists in Brussels.
The spokesman referred to the Geneva document, an agreement reached by representatives of Russia, the European Union, the United States and the interim government in Kiev last week in a bid to defuse tensions and avert bloodshed.
“The forces of law and order in Ukraine should do their work, but should do their work in a spirit that is fully in line with the Geneva agreement,” he said.
“We have full confidence in the Ukrainian government to further implement the terms of the Geneva agreement as soon as possible and we call on all parties to do the same in good faith,” the spokesman continued.
Federalization supporters in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and have been holding rallies since March. In response, Ukraine’s interim authorities have launched a special operation to crack down on the protests. Moscow has denounced Kiev's actions.
Early on Sunday, a group of unknown gunmen launched a deadly attack on a checkpoint near Slaviansk as people were celebrating Easter. Before the incident, unknown attackers opened fire in the center of the city. Three people, including two local citizens, were killed and three others were injured in the shootout.
Russia described the move as a blatant violation of the Geneva agreement.