Ukraine Says Russia Preparing Grounds for Invasion

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Bloomberg – – Kateryna Choursina – April 20, 2014) At least three people were killed in a clash in Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, the nation’s Interior Ministry said, as a top security official accused Russia of exploiting the violence to prepare grounds for an invasion.

Three “activists” were shot to death while on duty at a roadblock in an attack early today that also left three other people injured, the ministry said in a posting on its website. It said the assailants took “wounded and killed along with them,” without providing details. Ukraine’s Security Service said saboteurs carried out the assault.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry blamed the Ukrainian nationalist group Pravyi Sektor for the violence — an allegation that Pravyi Sektor denied in a statement. Viktoria Syumar, first deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council in Kiev, said on her Facebook page that Russia’s accusation and statements show it is preparing grounds to invade Ukraine.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called Russia a “threat to the globe” in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that was recorded yesterday. “If Russia pulls back its security forces and former KGB agents, this would definitely calm down the situation and stabilize the situation in southern and eastern Ukraine,” he said.

Putin Accountable

The discord adds to skepticism about whether Ukraine, the U.S., and the European Union will be able to use an April 17 Geneva accord to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for easing tensions that the Russian president says he’s had no role in creating.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak, said new economic sanctions on his country would amount to “the revival of the Cold War mentality” that would be counter-productive.

“We can withstand pressures,” Kislyak said on “Fox News Sunday” today. Claims that Putin seeks to restore the former Soviet Union are “a false notion” and Russia seeks only to ensure that Ukraine becomes “a country that is democratic, that supports the rights of all the ethnic groups, including certainly Russia’s, and we want to have a friendly neighbor,” Kislyak said.

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