It seems that Russians are promoting further violence against Ukraine just days after Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama said they would defend Ukraine. Russians have moved thousands of troops forward closer to Ukrainian territory, where violence has broken out between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces. The US’ defense agreement stipulates that under such circumstances, the US should come to the defense of Ukraine.
Violence has erupted in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk between Ukrainians and pro-Russian groups as Moscow moves thousands of troops to the border.
Fighting broke out at rallies staged by opposing demonstrators. One person was killed and at least 10 were hurt, it has been reported.
Pro-Russian demonstrators shouted ‘Russia, Putin!’ and hurled eggs, bottles and other projectiles at rival demonstrators.
It comes as Russia confirmed today it has massed thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine as John Kerry warned of ‘serious consequences’ if Moscow tried to annex Crimea.
‘The event involves some 8,500 artillery troops and a large number of rocket artillery systems, military and special hardware, including Grad-M, Uragan and Smersh multiple rocket launchers, Msta-S 152-mm caliber self-propelled howitzers, Nona artillery systems and Rapira 100-mm caliber anti-tank guns.
‘In response, Ukraine’s parliament has voted to create a 60,000-strong National Guard to bolster the country’s defences.
Ukraine’s national security chief Andriy Parubiy said the Guard would be deployed to ‘ensure state security, defend the borders, and eliminate terrorist groups’.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also was talking tough, telling Congress: ‘It can get ugly fast if the wrong choices are made, and it can get ugly in multiple directions.’Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in London in a last-ditch effort to halt Sunday’s referendum in the Crimea.
President Barack Obama declared that the U.S. would ‘completely reject’ a vote opening the door for the strategic Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia if the election goes ahead.