KIEV: An anti-terrorist operation has been launched against anti-government protesters in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, aiming to protect the citizens of Ukraine.
“The anti-terrorist operation started overnight Monday,” the Ukrainian Acting President Oleksander Turchinov announced. “The aim of these actions is to protect the citizens of Ukraine,” Turchinov said.
The Ukrainian acting president further said that this ‘anti-terrorist operation’ also aims to prevent “attempts to break Ukraine apart.”
The anti-government protesters in south-eastern Ukraine have recently been protesting against coup-appointed Kiev authorities. They demand constitutional reform that would take into consideration the interests of all Ukrainian regions. They also propose the federalization of the country and to make Russian the second official language in the regions.
On Monday, Turchinov signed a decree to officially begin a “special anti-terrorist operation” in the east of the country. He ordered “that the National Security and Defense Council’s decision of April 13, 2014, ‘On urgent measures to overcome the territorial threat and to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine’ be put into effect.”
Russia has warned that if Kiev uses force against anti-Maidan protests in eastern Ukraine, this would undermine the effort to convene a four-party conference on resolving the crisis in the country, which would include the US, the EU, Russia and Ukraine.