Putin slams Ukraine’s air attack, rebels down two helicopters

MOSKOVA (CIHAN)- Russia slammed Ukraine for its military assault in the eastern city of Slaviansk Friday, saying it would wipe out all hope for the viability of the Geneva agreements.

“During a visit to Minsk, (President Vladimir) Putin called such a possible operation criminal … Regrettably, the ongoing events have fully confirmed this assessment,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, as Ukrainian forces tried to retake government buildings occupied by pro-Russia activists.

Noting that Kiev had “crossed out” the Geneva agreements reached on April 17, Peskov said “it is hardly possible to say today that some may expect at least parts of these agreements to be implemented.”

The spokesman said Moscow was “extremely concerned” for the safety of Russia’s presidential special envoy Vladimir Lukin and journalists, who were visiting the conflict zone.

He also urged the United States and Europe to assess the situation objectively and call upon those using military aircraft against populated areas to rethink, according to the state RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia’s foreign ministry repeated in a statement that “using the army against its own people is a crime and will lead Ukraine to a catastrophe.”

Ukraine launched a major attack against pro-Russian forces around the city of Slaviansk in the early hours of Friday. Rebels shot down two Ukrainian helicopters and killed one crewmember, according to the leader of Slaviansk’s self-defense forces Vyacheslav Ponomaryov.

Ponomaryov accused the Ukrainian authorities of launching the attack using heavy weapons, saying the self-defense forces had to withdraw into the city.

Ukrainian defense ministry confirmed the loss of the two helicopters, but said two crewmembers were killed.
It added the helicopters were shot down with a surface-to-air missile, which proved the rebels were not civilians but well-equipped and well-trained military.
Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov warned Slaviansk residents to remain indoors while anti-terrorism operations proceeded in the city. (CihanXinhua)


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