May 15, 2014
Federalization supporters in Slaviansk intend to move from a
defensive to offensive strategy, the press secretary of the people’s
mayor told RIA Novosti.
“It’s no use waiting for them [the Ukrainian security officials] to attack. We are changing tactics,” Stella Khorosheva said.
Following a regime change in late February, the citizens of the
predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine refused
to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and
called for federalization and referendums on greater autonomy, with
rallies sweeping through the region.
Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the launch of a
special operation last month to crack down on pro-federalization
protests that have been spreading across southeastern Ukraine since a
regime change in Kiev in February.
Ukrainian troops encircled Slaviansk in a bid to wrest control from
pro-referendum demonstrators and self-defense forces. At least a dozen
protesters and civilians have been killed in hostilities in the city so
Russia has called the Western-backed military operation against
protesters a “punitive act” and accused Ukraine’s authorities of waging a
war against their own people.