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Lugansk declares state of emergency, mobilization amid Kiev’s punitive op

Published time: May 03, 2014 15:53
Edited time: May 03, 2014 18:27
An anti-Kiev activist sets a poster calling for a referendum, in front of the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 18, 2014 (AFP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff)

An anti-Kiev activist sets a poster calling for a referendum, in front of the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 18, 2014 (AFP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff)

Self-defense forces have declared a state of emergency and full mobilization in the eastern region of Lugansk, amid Kiev’s punitive military operation in the region.

The people’s governor of the Lugansk region, Valery Bolotov, has issued a statement declaring the state of emergency in the region, the representative of the so-called united army of the south-east told RIA Novosti.

The Kiev authorities do not wish to resolve the conflict peacefully, Bolotov stressed in his statement, referring to the increase of military presence in eastern Ukraine and the punitive operation launched by Kiev.

“Dozens killed in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, dozens burned alive in Odessa – this is their way of fulfilling our demands and the obligations of the Geneva agreement,” he said in his statement.

The state of emergency implies first of all “full mobilization of the male population and the introduction of curfew hours from 11pm to 6am in the Lugansk region,” the statement read.

The protest leader made an urgent appeal to create self-defense HQs in every city, to be coordinated by the central army of the south-east. He called on the heads of these HQs to begin preparing immediately to defend their cities.

Bolotov ordered all security forces who are not Lugansk residents to leave the region before 3 pm GMT, while summoning regional heads of the Interior Ministry, Security Council and the army to arrive at the army’s HQ in the south-east and “take an oath of allegiance to the people of the Lugansk region.”

In the case on noncompliance, they will be declared “traitors" and wartime measures will be applied to punish them, the statement read.

All political parties and public organizations’ activities are from now on banned, while the ultra-nationalist Right Sector and other ultra-right groups are declared illegal, Bolotov stressed.

The head of Lugansk police, Anatoly Naumenko, appointed at the end of April, has urged his colleagues to evacuate their families from the city because of an expected Kiev assault with ACPs and artillery, a source told RIA Novosti. However, anti-Kiev protesters said they had no such information but “are preparing for any development of events.”

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has denied assault intentions, calling it a false rumor.

“All police officers in Lugansk are on duty in emergency mode. No assault with ACPs and artillery is expected,” the Lugansk police press service said in a statement.

Coup-imposed Kiev authorities launched a punitive operation on Slavyansk, controlled by the region’s self-defense, on Friday morning. Civilians were blockaded inside the anti-government stronghold with military helicopters and APCs surrounding the city.

Later on Friday, the southern city of Odessa witnessed violence as radical militants torched the House of Trade Unions killing dozens. The tragedy was triggered by clashes between anti- and pro- Kiev rallies. On Saturday morning the Ukrainian military occupied the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, after an overnight assault operation. Security forces “shot at everyone, including civilians,” a self-defense HQ member claimed, as cited by Interfax. About 10 people had been reportedly killed overnight, and up to 10 later in the morning.

In response to these events Russia condemned the position of Kiev and its Western allies adding that they bear full responsibility for the recent bloodshed in Ukraine.

“The authorities in Kiev not only bear direct responsibility, but are complicit in these criminal activities. Their arms are up to the elbows in blood,” spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said in a statement.