Ukraine president relaunches military operation against rebels

22nd April 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's acting president on Tuesday ordered the military to resume an operation against pro-Kremlin separatists, after the "brutally tortured" bodies of two people, one a kidnapped local councillor, were discovered in the restive east.

"I demand the resumption of effective counter-terrorism measures to protect Ukrainian citizens in the east from terrorism," Oleksandr Turchynov said, according to a statement from his other office as parliamentary speaker.

The announcement came hours after US Vice President Joe Biden left Kiev at the end of a two-day visit during which he voiced strong US support for Ukraine's leaders, and warned Russia against further "provocative behaviour" in the former Soviet republic.

Turchynov had earlier Tuesday declared that the rebels' refusal to comply with an accord agreed last week by Kiev, Moscow and the West "puts a cross" through it.

He said the bodies of two people were found in the rebel-held town of Slavyansk on Tuesday, both bearing signs of torture.

One of them, he said, was that of Volodymyr Rybak, a councillor in the town of Gorlivka, "who was kidnapped recently by the terrorists".

Rybak was a local member of the pro-Western party led by Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who is a leading candidate in a presidential election to be held in Ukraine May 25. Turchynov is a member of the same party.

© 2014 AFP

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