By Rebecca Shabad - 04/08/14 09:28 AM EDT
Russia warned Ukraine's government on Tuesday that any use of force could lead to a civil war.
"We call for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which are fraught with the risk of unleashing civil war," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.
This came after Ukrainian police detained 70 people they’ve described as Russian separatists and "terrorists."
“The authorities will treat separatists and terrorists who have picked up automatic weapons, who are seizing buildings, in accordance with the constitution and the law — as terrorists and criminals," Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov told a parliament meeting, AFP reported.
Pro-Russian protesters took over government buildings in Luhansk and Dontesk and demanded for referendums to be held on whether to join Russia, just as Crimea did last month.
Russia has denied any involvement with these efforts, but Obama administration officials said on Monday they believe they were operating with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support.
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Russian Forein Minister Sergey Lavrov by phone on Monday and urged Russia to “publicly disavow” this campaign, which the United States is watching with “great concern.”
The White House warned Russia on Monday that any further incursion into Ukraine will result in additional costs.