Russia: Ukraine military action would undermine talks

There was heavy gunfire as armed men took the police station in Kramatorsk

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said armed action by Ukrainian authorities in the east of Ukraine could undermine forthcoming talks.

Kiev earlier warned pro-Russian militants who stormed police stations in eastern towns on Saturday that they would be harshly dealt with.

The US has accused Russia of "inciting" trouble in eastern Ukraine.

Four-party talks involving Ukraine, Russia, the US and the EU are due to start in Geneva on Thursday.

Mr Lavrov said Ukraine was "demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country".

Early on Sunday, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced that an "anti-terror" operation had begun in Sloviansk, one of the towns where armed men had stormed a police station.


Russia has so far denied that it is directly responsible for the unrest.

But the US says there has been a "concerted campaign" by forces with Russian support to undermine the authorities in Kiev.

In a phone call, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged his Russian counterpart to de-escalate the situation or face additional consequences.

He said the raids were similar to those which preceded the Russian annexation of Crimea earlier this year.

"If Russia does not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there will be additional consequences" he warned.

Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk April 12 Members of Ukraine's disbanded Berkut riot police arrived in Donetsk to support pro-Russian protesters
An armed man gestures from a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slaviansk April 12 Checkpoints and barricades have been set up in Sloviansk

It has also been announced that US Vice President Joe Biden is to travel to Ukraine in 10 days' time.

On Saturday, armed men took over police stations and official buildings in three eastern towns.

Heavy gunfire was heard as dozens of men stormed police headquarters in Kramatorsk.

They were reported to have arrived in buses and to have used automatic weapons to overwhelm police.

Militants took over official buildings in the towns of Sloviansk and Druzhkovka.

They also continued their occupation of the main administrative building in the regional capital Donetsk, which they have held for one week.

Eastern Ukraine has a large Russian-speaking population and has seen a series of protests since the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

Ukraine map

Are you in the area? What is your reaction to this? If you would be happy to speak with the BBC please email using the subject heading 'Ukraine'.

Or you can contact us using this form.

Send your pictures and videos to or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Read the terms and conditions

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

Ukraine crisis

More Europe stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.