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Ukraine Turmoil Sparks Military Action

Published: April 25, 2014 (Issue # 1807)



  • A checkpoint outside the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk following an attack by Ukrainian troops.
    Photo: Mika Velikovsky / AP

As tanks and troops sent by the central government in Kiev zeroed in on Ukraine's wayward town of Slovyansk on Thursday and Ukraine's interior ministry reported that as many as five separatists had been killed, Moscow responded by ordering snap military drills on the border with the troubled region.

The move marks the first time Russia has officially acknowledged that its military action was directly related to events unfolding in neighboring Ukraine. During earlier military drills, the Kremlin had denied any connection with the Ukraine crisis.

But on Tuesday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia had been "forced to react to these developments," adding that Ukraine had deployed 160 tanks, 230 armored vehicles and at least 150 guns and mortars to counter 2,000 militants armed with about 100 machine guns.

"The forces are not equal. They were allowed to use arms against civilians. If this military machine does not get stopped today, it will lead to more bloodshed," Shoigu said, Interfax reported.

Shoigu did not specify the amount of troops that would participate in the exercise, though he did specify that Russia's Air Force would conduct patrol flights around the Ukrainian border.

Earlier in the day, President Vladimir Putin accused the new Kiev government of committing "serious crimes against its own people" and sapping last week's deal aimed at de-escalation in conflict-ridden Ukraine.

"We have participated in the Geneva meeting, where we signed certain documents ordering people from both sides to disarm, vacate administrative buildings and so on. What is happening? The Right Sector, as well as other radical organizations do not disarm, on the contrary, these gangs are getting legalized," Putin said in St. Petersburg on Thursday, referring to the radical nationalist movement that was instrumental in bringing down the pro-Moscow regime in Ukraine in February.

Ukraine's army units started pouring into Slovyansk on early afternoon Thursday, launching an attack against militants at checkpoints that guard each entrance to the town of 129,000. In the past two weeks Slovyansk has been the epicenter of pro-Russian separatist zeal in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which has made it a target for Ukraine's authorities.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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