US blames Russia as Kiev unleashes armored vehicles against civilians
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has condemned the actions of Ukrainian military in using force against pro-federalization activists and civilians in the city of Mariupol.
“I strongly condemn the violence, and call upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate steps to de-escalate a situation which has caused the loss of many lives, and created a climate of fear and anxiety,” said Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan.
At the same time, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki seemingly condemned the violence too, which she immediately blamed on “pro-Russia separatists.”
“Well, we condemn the outbreak of violence caused by pro-Russia separatists this morning in Mariupol, which has resulted in multiple deaths,” she said.
Despite clear evidence that Kiev has used heavy armored vehicles and tanks against the civilian population, on the day which is considered holy by most of Ukrainians, the Victory Day, the US State Department continued to blame local pro-federalization militias – almost defenceless compared to the outnumbering Ukranian armed forces – for the bloodshed.
“We continue to call for groups who have jeopardized public order by taking up arms and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukrainian law to disarm and leave the buildings they have seized. So certainly, we are aware of that. We’re watching it very closely,” Psaki said.
Even-though Washington is repeatedly endorsed Kiev's military operation in the southeast of the country, Psaki called on Moscow to act.
“Any steps Russia would be willing to take to defuse tensions in accordance with its Geneva commitments. We’ve seen their words before. What we’re waiting for is actions, and if this crisis is going to end, we need their words to be made real,” Psaki said referring to President's Putin's recent call for a direct dialogue between Kiev and anti-coup protesters in southeast Ukraine as a key measure to ending the crisis.
“So if they are serious about what they’re saying, they need to tell separatists to lay down their arms, to release those who are being held, and that, obviously, we have not seen happen,” Psaki added.
There are conflicting reports about the killed and injured, when Ukrainian military attacked the positions of self-defense squads in in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol in the Azov Sea city, near the Russian border. Self-defense forces have managed to prevent the takeover of the city, which has been held by pro-federalization supporters for over a week.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that about 20 so-called “terrorists” were killed and four more were taken captive, according to a statement posted on Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s Facebook page. According to Mariupol health officials, at least 7 people have been killed and 39 injured, Ria Novosti reports. Amids fighting, RT’s stringer in Mariupol has been injured while trying to film and is now in hospital. Doctors say that in spite of his bulletproof vest he has sustained a serious injury in the abdomen and now remains in critical condition.