Three More Armored Transport Vehicles Join Federalists in Eastern Ukraine
SLAVIANSK, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – The personnel of three more armored transport vehicles sent to the eastern Ukrainian cities of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have switched sides and joined the pro-federalist activists there, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Wednesday.
The troops arrived in downtown Slaviansk, controlled by people's militia, took off Ukrainian flags and handed over weapons to the activists.
"We have decided not to fight with people. We refuse to defend these authorities," the personnel said.
The crews told RIA Novosti that they have not been fed for four days and had been dispatched to the Donetsk region from neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, in eastern Ukraine.
Slaviansk, which became a major hotspot Sunday when the Kiev regime launched an "anti-terrorist" operation against pro-federalization protesters, remains under control of pro-federalization activists.
Ukrainian troops entered Wednesday the city of Kramatorsk, another scene of pro-federalization protests, but met no resistance there. Earlier Wednesday, the personnel of six armored transport vehicles joined the pro-federalist activists, witnesses said.
The Ukrainian army started a special operation Tuesday in a crackdown on self-defense activists in eastern Ukraine. The operation targeted the cities of Kramatorsk and Slaviansk in the Donetsk region.
At least four protesters were killed and two others wounded Tuesday as Ukrainian troops stormed an airfield in Kramatorsk, local pro-federalization supporters said. Two others were wounded.
Eastern Ukraine has been swept by rallies beginning last month. Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic's reunification with Russia.
Russia condemned the decision by the new Ukrainian authorities to use force against the federalization supporters, saying it was an extremely unpleasant turn of events.
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