MOSCOW, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – Federalization supporters in Slaviansk intend to move from a defensive to offensive strategy, the press secretary of the people's mayor told RIA Novosti.
“It’s no use waiting for them [the Ukrainian security officials] to attack. We are changing tactics,” Stella Khorosheva said.
Following a regime change in late February, the citizens of the predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine refused to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and called for federalization and referendums on greater autonomy, with rallies sweeping through the region.
Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the launch of a special operation last month to crack down on pro-federalization protests that have been spreading across southeastern Ukraine since a regime change in Kiev in February.
Ukrainian troops encircled Slaviansk in a bid to wrest control from pro-referendum demonstrators and self-defense forces. At least a dozen protesters and civilians have been killed in hostilities in the city so far.
Russia has called the Western-backed military operation against protesters a "punitive act" and accused Ukraine’s authorities of waging a war against their own people.