Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov has called for law enforcement agencies to resume anti-terrorist operations in the eastern part of the country after two bodies were discovered “tortured to death” near the eastern city of Slaviansk, including that of Vladimir Rybak, a local member of parliament and member of Turchynov’s own political party. Turchynov has accused that Russian’s who have infiltrated Ukraine have helped with the committing of the crimes. However, the self-proclaimed, pro-Russian “Mayor” of Slaviansk has blamed the deaths of Rybak and one other on a faction of Ukrainian nationalist.
“The terrorists who basically have taken the entire Donetsk region hostage have crossed the line with torturing and killing Ukrainian patriots,” said Turchynov
Last week, Ukraine’s military took part in a failed attempt at retaking one of the mainly Russian-speaking towns that pro-Russian separatists have taken over in the east and have suspended anti-terrorist operations due in part by an agreement signed in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the United States that called on Russia to wield its influence to persuade the separatists to surrender and for Ukraine to guarantee constitutional rights to Russian-speaking regions including being able to have economic ties with Russia.
Tuesday, Turchynov called on Ukraine’s military to “Relaunch and carry out anti-terrorist measures,’ aimed at protecting Ukrainian citizens living in eastern Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s military has shown little, if any progress in taking back towns in the east that militants have taken over and occupied over two weeks ago, and Turchynov’s orders might not lead to any action at all and might rekindle the blame game between the Russian Federation and Ukrainian government about whose fault it is that the deal reached in Geneva failed to be implemented.
Turchynov believes that the deaths were ordered by Russian operatives orchestrating the occupation in the eastern part of the country. On Monday, the Ukrainian government released photos of what they say are Russian Special Forces operating inside of Ukraine’s borders, and on Tuesday, Ukrainian officials announced that they have captured three Russian Intelligence operatives and arrested 21 other Russian officials in connection with the civil unrest in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has denied time and time again claims that the Russian military is operating inside of Ukraine’s eastern cities, but have admitted to Russian forces being in Crimea in order to help pro-Russian separatists in the annexation of the region.
The director of Ukraine’s National Security Service, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko has stated that the operatives inside Ukraine are a mixture of unemployed Ukrainian citizens and Russian military. He further went on to say that the operation is the result of a two-year long plan to infiltrate Ukraine and pay unemployed Ukrainians to take part in the operation.
The Russian intelligence operatives who were arrested are being questioned by Ukrainian officials in Kiev, and according to Nalyvaichenko, have given the Ukrainian government “important information and evidence”.
During US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine this week, he pledged an additional $50 million in aid with $11.4 million to assist the May 25th presidential election and another $8 million in non-lethal aid to Ukraine. The United States is also deploying roughly 600 troops to Poland and surrounding countries to reassure NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
By Nathaniel Pownell