Moscow urges Kiev to halt military operations in east Ukraine
Moscow has urged Kiev to halt its military operations in eastern Ukraine amid reports of civilian casualties during a full-scale assault on pro-Russian protesters there.
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement urging the Kiev government to stop what Moscow calls Ukraine’s military operations against its own people.
The Russian ministry also called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to investigate the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian activists in the eastern city of Donetsk.
Moscow’s comments came after intense fighting broke out in Donetsk, with government air and ground forces attacking pro-Russian activists’ positions. The Ukrainian forces targeted the Sergei Prokofiev Airport with military air assaults after it was seized by armed men who identified themselves as representatives of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic earlier in the day.
During the assault, a truck, marked as an ambulance and carrying injured people, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing at least 35 people. Ukrainian forces also targeted the city’s train station, killing at least one person. In addition, the military attacked residential areas in the city of Slavyansk, using helicopter gunships, killing at least two people.
The government in Kiev has been staging military operations since mid-April in the eastern and southern regions in a bid to root out pro-Moscow demonstrations.
Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko pledged on Monday to put an end to the war and bring peace to the former Soviet state. The 48-year-old chocolate tycoon has also ruled out negotiations with pro-Russian activists, vowing to continue military operations in the country’s southeastern provinces.