US backs Ukraine’s ‘measured’ military operation against protesters

Baku: The United States has backed the Ukrainian government’s military operation against anti-Kiev protesters in the east of the country, describing it as “measured”, APA reports quoting Press TV.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian acting President Olexander Turchynov announced the start of an “anti-terrorist operation” against the protesters after they seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across the country’s eastern provinces.

The aim of the operation is to “protect Ukrainian citizens, to stop the terror, to stop the crime, to stop the attempts to tear our country apart,” Turchynov said.

In response, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the military action is not the preferred option, but that Kiev has to respond to “an untenable situation.”

Carney urged authorities in Kiev to take “all due caution,” but said they had a “responsibility” to maintain law and order in the country.

This comes as Russia says it is “deeply concerned” about reports of casualties in eastern Ukraine following the government’s military operation. Moscow has called on the international community to condemn Ukraine’s approach in dealing with the unrest in the country’s east.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of failing to offer a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

In a phone conversation on Monday, Obama said Russia’s actions in Ukraine were not conducive, according to a senior White House administration official.

Obama told Putin that Kiev had made “real offers” to address concerns about the decentralization of powers to local governments in the country.

“That is a matter for Ukrainians to decide,” the official said. “We have always and will continue to support an inclusive process.”

Putin rejected Western claims that Moscow is behind attacks on government buildings, saying they were “based on unfounded information,” the Kremlin said in a statement issued on Monday.

Earlier, Putin’s spokesman said Russia had received several requests for help from anti-Kiev protesters, who are seeking to follow in the footsteps of the Autonomous Republic of Crimean and force a referendum on joining the Russian Federation.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow further intensified following reports of a Russian fighter jet making repeated close-range passes near a US ship in the Black Sea over the weekend.

The Pentagon condemned the action, saying it was “provocative and unprofessional.”