RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has warned there will be “consequences” if the Ukrainian army has been used against its people after Ukraine’s interior ministry said “up to five” pro-Russian militants had been killed in the separatist-controlled city of Sloviansk.
In an immediate response to the deaths, Russia ordered fresh military exercises after Ukraine moved to reclaim the city from separatists, with the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu asserting Moscow was “forced to react”.
The large-scale military exercises on its border with Ukraine yesterday came after Kiev launched a military assault against separatist protesters who have seized buildings in the country’s east. Mr Putin said Russia’s manoeuvres were a “punitive operation”, which would “carry consequences”.
He said: “If the current regime in Kiev have really begun to use the army against the country’s population then it is, without any doubt, a very serious crime against their people.”
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