Lavrov says West behind uprising in Ukraine

Russia’s foreign Minister Lavrov accused the United States and the European Union of trying to stage another ‘color revolution’

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday accused the United States and the European Union of being behind a popular uprising that ousted the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine in February, Agence France-Presse reported.

“In Ukraine the United States and the European Union tried to stage - let’s call things what they are - another ‘color revolution,’ an operation to unconstitutionally change regime,” the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

Lavrov’s remark is in reference to Ukraine’s Orange Revolution that took place in 2004 and 2005. The revolution was after the run-off vote of the presidential election which was claimed by pro-Kremlin leaders.

The foreign minister also expects an international agreement to defuse the Ukraine crisis to be implemented in practical steps.

Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union signed the deal in Geneva last week in a bid to resolve the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War but each side has since accused the other of failing to carry it out.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry said up to five pro-Kremlin rebels were killed in the Ukrainian military’s operation on Thursday to dislodge the militants from the eastern town of Slavyansk.

“During the clashes, up to five terrorists were eliminated,” it said in a statement, adding that one soldier was wounded in the assault, which also saw the destruction of three checkpoints manned by the separatists at entrances to the town.

This comes after Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week, the Associated Press reported.

Pro-Russian protesters and masked gunmen have been occupying government buildings across eastern Ukraine for nearly two weeks.

Avakov wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that the city hall in Mariupol “has been freed to resume work,” adding that no casualties were reported.

The local news website 0629.com.ua said five people who were occupying the building were injured in clashes with police.

Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis in decades, which was sparked by months-long anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovich’s flight to Russia.

(With AFP, Reuters and Associated Press)

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