The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

World News

May 12, 2014

Insurgents in eastern Ukraine declare independence

(Continued)

DONETSK, Ukraine —

The U.S. and the EU, which have slapped travel bans and asset freezes on members of Putin's entourage after Russia's annexation of Crimea, have warned they could target entire sectors of the Russian economy if Moscow tries to derail the May 25 vote.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow saw no need for another four-way meeting between Russia, the U.S., the EU and Ukraine following their talks in Geneva last month, saying Ukrainian authorities should focus on a dialogue with the east.

He accused Washington and Kiev of stonewalling the OSCE plan and warned that efforts to defuse the crisis wouldn't succeed without "engaging opponents of the regime in a direct dialogue."

The Foreign Ministry criticized the EU for its "inarticulate reaction" to the OSCE plan, and said by refusing to recognize the referendums, the EU "undermines its credibility as a partner" in resolving the crisis.

Last week, Putin urged referendum organizers to postpone the balloting in an apparent attempt to distance himself from the insurgents.

Sunday's balloting appeared to be mostly peaceful but armed men stopped the voting and took control of the town hall in Krasnoarmeisk, then opened fire on the crowd outside. They identified themselves as Ukrainian national guards but the Interior Ministry said they were not. Two deaths were reported.

Turchynov and Ukraine's caretaker government came to power in February following the ouster of Kremlin-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych after months of protests in Kiev. Moscow and many in Ukraine's east have accused the new government of intending to trample the rights of Russian-speakers.

___

Isachenkov reported from Moscow. Nataliya Vasilyeva and Mark Rachkevych in Kiev, Ukraine, Raf Casert in Brussels, Angela Charlton in Paris and photographer Manu Brabo in Krasnoarmeisk contributed reporting.

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