Kremlin-backed militants in eastern Ukraine took over additional Ukrainian government buildings and attacked military installations over the weekend during a brief suspension of anti-terrorist activities over the Easter weekend, authorities say.
At a briefing on April 22, Security Service (SBU) spokesperson Maryna Ostapenko blamed Russia for the building seizures and armed assaults, and accused it of violating a de-escalation program that was brokered in Geneva last week between diplomats from the US, European Union, Ukraine and Russia.
Ostapenko added that there is mounting, irrefutable evidence of Russian special-ops troops and military intelligence personnel engaged in eastern Ukraine.
Official Moscow has denied the accusations, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted last week on television that Russian troops took part in the annexation of Crimea in February-March. Miltary and defense experts have asserted that Russia is duplicating the Crimea operation in eastern Ukraine via a stealth invasion using armed, masked men and special forces.
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(Ukrainian soldiers march in Donetsk Oblast’s Kramatorsk before Kremlin-backed militants and insurgents block their path on April 16. Photo: Kostyantyn Chernichkin/The Kyiv Post)