Ukraine: Separatists have 'gone too far'

 

Ukraine’s acting president on Tuesday ordered the military to relaunch its operation against Russian separatists after two bodies were found that were “brutally tortured," one of them a politician. 

"I demand the resumption of effective counter-terrorism measures to protect Ukrainian citizens in the east from terrorism," Oleksandr Turchynov said, according to Agence France-Presse

Turchynov said the bodies were found on Tuesday near Slovyansk, a city in eastern Ukraine that has been occupied for weeks by pro-Russian separatists.

"The terrorists who effectively took the whole Donetsk region hostage have now gone too far," he said, BBC News reports.

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One of the bodies found belonged to Volodymyr Rybak, a councilor in the town of Gorlivka. Turchynov said Rybak “was kidnapped recently by the terrorists.” 

Rybak was a member of the pro-Western party led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is running in the presidential election scheduled for May 25.

These crimes, Turchynov said, are being committed “with the full support and connivance of the Russian Federation.”

Earlier on Tuesday, he suggested the diplomatic deal reached by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union last week to resolve the crisis was now dead.

Rebel groups’ rejection of the agreement, and refusal to leave the government buildings they’ve occupied, “puts a cross” through the deal, Turchynov said. 

Ukraine’s return to its “anti-terrorist” operation came as Vice President Biden met with government officials in Kiev after a two-day trip.  

Biden warned Russia against further “provocative behavior,” emphasizing that such action would lead to “greater isolation.”

He departed for Washington late Tuesday.  

The Pentagon also announced on Tuesday it's sending 600 U.S. troops to the Baltic States and eastern Europe for military exercises.