Weekend Violence in Ukraine Threatens Peace Efforts

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Last week’s agreement in Geneva, meant to avert wider conflict in Ukraine, was faltering as the new week began. Pro-Moscow separatist gunmen show no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized. The images below are from the cities of Donetsk and Slaviansk. A gunbattle in Slaviansk left an uncertain number dead.

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REUTERS/Marko Djurica

In Donetsk, an opponent of secession by eastern Ukraine walks, draped in the Ukrainian flag, past a group of riot police (Thursday April 17, 2014). Secessionist gunmen have seized city government buildings in Donetsk, an industrial city that is the biggest in southeastern Ukraine. In Geneva, Ukrainian, Russian, European Union and U.S. diplomats agreed Thursday that groups, including pro-Ukrainian government demonstrators in Kyiv.

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REUTERS/Alexander Prokopenko/Pool

Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko greets men who have volunteered for a pro-Ukrainian, anti-secessionist “self-defense” force in Donetsk, April 18, 2014.

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REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Pro-Russian supporters of secession gather outside the mayor’s office in Slaviansk, April 18, 2014. Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they were not bound by the international deal reached in Geneva, and thus would not disarm or relinquish public buildings they have seized. They said they will do so only when the interim government in Kyiv, which wants to build closer ties with Europe rather than Russia, steps down.

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REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

An armed man, who is wearing black and orange ribbons of St. George, stands guard in front of a sandbag barricade outside the mayor’s office in Slaviansk, April 18, 2014. The self-declared leader of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, said on Friday said that he did not consider his men to be bound by an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to disarm and vacate occupied buildings.

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REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Pro-Russian secessionists play soccer in front of a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 19, 2014. A day after an international deal in Geneva to defuse the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, secessionists vowed not to end their occupation of public buildings and Washington threatened further sanctions on Moscow if the stalemate continued.

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REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A masked pro-Russia separatist stands guard at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 19, 2014.

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REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Masked pro-Russian protesters stand guard outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 19, 2014.

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REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Pro-Russian separatist soldier or militiaman walks near vehicles burned in a gun battle overnight at the edge of the city of Slaviansk, April 20, 2014. The leader of the gunmen controlling Slaviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said the battle was caused by “fascists” who had tried to attack the city, and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops as a peacekeeping force.

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REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Burnt cars remained Sunday at the scene of the overnight gunfight. Journalists said no evidence was available to indicate whether the fight followed an attack by Ukrainian nationalists, as claimed by Russia and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, or was staged by Russian forces to help create a pretext for a Russian invasion of the east, as claimed by Ukraine’s security service.

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REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Russian flag flies over the checkpoint that was the scene of the overnight gunfight.

Image: The black and orange ribbon of St. George, a symbol used by pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine, is tied to the gunsight of a weapon carried by one of the gunmen controlling the city of Slaviansk, April 21, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich