BAKU, June 18 (RIA Novosti) – The introduction of martial law in eastern Ukraine may give free hand to the Kiev authorities to crack down on independence supporters in the troubled region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
“Speaking on the idea of announcing martial law, I cannot see in what way it may lead to de-escalation. On the contrary, martial law is being introduced to give a free hand to authorities to rely on military, brutal force to quash protests in the southeast,” Lavrov said after talks with his Azerbaijan’s counterpart Elmar Mammadjarov.
Lavrov said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s proposal that Ukrainian law enforcers will unilaterally cease fire in eastern regions to allow independence supporters to disarm is close to “ethnic cleansing.”
Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told journalists Tuesday the move could lead to even more violence and turn into the worst-case scenario for the country.
Ukraine’s factions are trying to finalize an address to President Poroshenko, which in particular calls for the imposition of martial law in the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said Monday that the state of martial law could be declared in eastern Ukraine only as a last resort if all attempts to resolve the current standoff between the Kiev authorities and independence supporters have failed.