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Ukraine to Launch Probe after Slaviansk Incident

World | April 21, 2014, Monday // 10:57| Views: 759 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Ukraine to Launch Probe after Slaviansk Incident Three pro-Russian activists were killed in Sunday's attack near Slaviansk. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Ukraine is starting a probe into last weekend's shooting near the town of Slaviansk which left three pro-Russian activists dead and there others wounded.

The incident took place amid a declared Easter truce in Ukraine, following days of an "anti-terrorist" operation by Kiev forces against pro-Russian separatists.

Viktoriya Suimar from Ukraine's National Security Council was quoted by the BBC as saying that it was to early to tell who was responsible for the attack, but added that criminal groups could have been behind it.

According to the Interior Ministry, about 12 unknown men arrived at a roadblock set up by rebels near Slaviansk and opened fire at people guarding the checkpoint.

Russia earlier expressed outrage at the incident, putting the blame on nationalists from Ukraine's Right Sector.

Commenting on reports of the organization's involvement in the incident aired on Russian TV, a Right Sector spokesman described the claims as a "provocation" from the Russian secret services.

Moscow has also described the fatal shooting as an example showing that Kiev does not protect Ukraine's Russian-speaking or ethnic Russian population. It demanded that Ukraine put more pressure on the Right Sector to tackle threats to minorities' rights.

The latest developments come days after an agreement was reached between Ukraine, Russia, the EU and the US to take steps to wind down tensions in the south and east of the country. At the four-way meeting leaders said that illigal military groups acting in Ukraine must be dissolved, and activists occupying government buildings should leave them.

Pro-Russian groups in Donetsk have however rejected the agreement and pledged to withdraw from seized buildings only after the government in Kiev resigns.

In Slaviansk, the self-proclaimed mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev announced that a "people's army of Donetsk" was being formed. Separatists in the town also declared a curfew between midnight and 06:00 AM in reponse to Sunday's fatal attack, acccording to RIA Novosti.

Further diplomatic effort to solve the crisis is expected on Tuesday, when US Vice President Joe Biden will meet Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov.

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Right Sector, Slaviansk, Biden, Turchynov, pro-Russian
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