Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaking at an open government meeting on Monday, blamed pro-Russian protesters of instigating "a plan to destabilize" the region so that Russian troops could intervene and claim the territory as Russian.
"I would like to address, first and foremost, all residents of the eastern regions of Ukraine. Everyone understands that they are realizing an anti-Ukrainian, anti-Donetsk, anti-Luhansk and anti-Kharkiv plan, a plan to destabilize the situation, a plan to ensure that foreign troops could cross the border and capture the territory of the country. We won't allow that."
Those responsible for causing instability will be dealt with under anti-terrorist measures, Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced during a televised address on Monday. The government established "An anti-crisis headquarters" Monday evening, and the president determined that "anti-terrorist measures will be taken against those who took up arms."
In the eastern city of Donetsk, separatists seized the Donetsk Regional Council building and other administrative buildings. The City Council issued a statement denouncing the seizures and asserting that "we declare that Donetsk City Council and nine district councils of the city have not authorized anyone to participate in such gatherings."
The City Council has reached out to the protest leaders to encourage them to put down their weapons and come to the negotiating table. "All conflicts," the City Council stated, "should be resolved legally. We supported and still support the constructive resolution of all disagreements at the negotiating table."
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk expressed his belief that residents of eastern Ukraine still wish to live in a united Ukraine.
[Interfax Ukraine News Agency]