Ukraine’s police and security forces are “helpless’’ to quell unrest in two eastern regions bordering Russia, and in some cases are cooperating with pro-Russian gunmen who have seized scores of government buildings and taken people hostage, the country’s acting president said Wednesday.
Oleksandr Turchynov said the goal now was to prevent the agitation from spreading to other territories.
“I will be frank: Today, security forces are unable to quickly take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions under control,’’ Turchynov said at a meeting with regional governors. “The security bodies … are unable to carry out their duties of protecting citizens. They are helpless in those matters. Moreover, some of those units are either helping or cooperating with terrorist organisations.’’
Turchynov instructed the governors to try to prevent the threat from overtaking more central and southern regions. “Mercenaries and special units that are active on Ukrainian territory have been tasked with attacking those regions. That is why I am stressing: our task is to stop the spread of the terrorist threat first of all in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions,’’ Turchynov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Turchynov spoke hours after pro-Russian gunmen seized more administrative buildings in eastern Ukraine. Insurgents wielding automatic weapons took control and hoisted an insurgent flag on top of the city council building Wednesday morning in the city of Horlivka in the Donetsk region.