Ukraine crisis: Casualties in Sloviansk gun battles


Lavrov said the Kiev government was “demonstrating its inability to take responsibility
for the fate of the country.”  Biden to Visit Kyiv this month.

A Ukrainian officer has been killed in a gun battle with pro-Russian armed men in the eastern city of Sloviansk, the interior minister says, according to the BBC. Both sides suffered a number of casualties, Arsen Avakov said. Pro-Russian forces took over Sloviansk on Saturday and have targeted at least four other cities, prompting Kiev to launch an “anti-terror operation”.
Kiev and Western powers accuse Moscow of inciting the trouble. The Kremlin denies the charge. US officials said on Saturday there had been a “concerted campaign” by forces with Russian support to undermine the authorities in Kiev.
Secretary of State John Kerry warned of “additional consequences” if Russia failed to make efforts to “de-escalate” and pull its troops back from Ukraine’s border.
But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kiev government was “demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country”. He had warned earlier that any use of force in eastern Ukraine could scupper crisis talks due later this week.
Ukrainian officials were due to meet counterparts from Russia, the US and the EU in Geneva on Thursday.

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