New authorities in post-coup Kiev have listed the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as terrorist organizations. The two regions proclaimed themselves sovereign states after the controversial May 11 referendums.
“The two so-called 'people’s republics' in Donetsk and Lugansk regions are terrorist organizations, which have a clear hierarchy, financing, and channels of weapons supplies,” Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general, Nikolay Golomsha, said.
The statement confirmed a similar statement made by Ukraine's minister of justice, Pavel Petrenko. The minister said the two “were created for assaulting people, intimidation, sabotage, terrorist attacks, beatings, and murder of our citizens.”
Criminal cases have been launched to investigate the “formation of the terrorist organizations.”
On Friday, Golomsha stressed that the General Prosecutor's Office has managed to reveal channels through which weapons are being supplied to Donetsk and Lugansk.
On May 11, the Ukrainian regions held referendums and voted for self-rule. Kiev and Western countries condemned the ballots, calling them illegal.
Kiev has intensified its military crackdown in the region, deploying tanks, APCs and helicopters. It formed paramilitary forces which are now on the ground in Donetsk and Lugansk regions as part of an “anti-military operation.”
The self-proclaimed republics are demanding the withdrawal of Kiev fighters which continue to clash with local self-defense units.
The deadline for an ultimatum issued by the Donetsk People's Republic, which demanded that Kiev pull out its troops, passed on Friday.
A deputy commander of the pro-autonomy militia of Donbass, Sergey Zdrilyuk, said on May 15 that all Ukrainian armed forces had 24 hours to withdraw their armored vehicles and checkpoints from around “Donetsk, Mariupol, and other cities.”
He threatened to “destroy and burn down all of this” if the demand was not met. However, Kiev's forces still remain in the region. According to the Donetsk People's Republic, the troops were enlarged following the ultimatum.