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West reluctant to point finger at nationalist radicals in Ukraine crisis

Published time: May 03, 2014 12:46
Protesters look at a fire in the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)

Protesters look at a fire in the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)

Russia is struck by the complacence of the West following violence by pro-Kiev radicals in Odessa, the Russian Ambassador to the UN has said. While the West has condemned the unrest, it has stopped short of pointing the finger at its culprits.

Following an emergency meeting with the UN Security Council on Friday night in connection with the fire at Odessa’s Trade Unions House that killed 39 people, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin spoke out against Western support of radical elements in Ukraine.

“We were struck by the complacence of the Western members of the Security Council towards the actions, including the use of force, by the illegitimate Kiev authorities and the ultra-radicals they rely on,”
said Churkin in a statement.

He added Russia was “profoundly disturbed” by reports “thugs” from the extremist, right-wing group Right Sector had set the Trade Unions building ablaze.

“Such actions are reminiscent of the crimes of the Nazis,” he said, stressing it is not surprising such elements believe they can act with “impunity” when they have the backing of the West.

Although the West has moved to condemn the incident, it has stopped short of acknowledging it was pro-Kiev radicals that set the building ablaze and the victims were pro-federalization activists.

The US State Department issued a statement following the event, decrying the violence and mayhem that led to so many senseless deaths and injuries as “unacceptable.” It made no mention of the actions of radical, right-wing elements in Ukraine. Sweden’s Foreign Minister went one step further, intimating in a Twitter post that the events in Odessa were triggered by a “pro-Russian attempt to get control of buildings.”

Furthermore, earlier this week EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said "the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of violence needs to be respected."

Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama praised the “remarkable restraint” of the coup-appointed Kiev government in their treatment of the crisis. He also said that the Ukrainian Army’s operation in eastern Ukraine was “a move to restore order.”

Russia has decried the acting Ukrainian government’s use of force against civilians in the east of the country as a violation of the Geneva agreement reached on April 17.

Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the Kiev’s coup-appointed government’s special operation in eastern Ukraine “is not going to stop.”

About 10 people were killed and around 30 were injured during recent fighting in the city of Kramatorsk.