Pro-Russian separatists block monitors from buildings in east Ukraine, diplomats say

Karen DeYoung
Published by Washington Post, April 21, 2014

The United States and Russia traded charges Monday over ­implementation of last week’s agreement to defuse tensions in Ukraine, with Secretary of State John F. Kerry urging Moscow to publicly call on armed pro-Russian separatists to vacate occupied government buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities and to send a senior diplomat to tell them Russia wants them to leave.

Kerry’s comments, in a telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, came after separatists blocked international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from the occupied buildings. In some cases, the monitors were stopped at separatist checkpoints outside urban areas, according to Western diplomats.

An OSCE team “has been in Donetsk but has not yet made progress,” one diplomat said. “They are trying to get back into Slovyansk, but pro-Russian demonstrators have been blocking the way.” An OSCE assessment released Monday described the situation as “very tense” in Donetsk and as “deteriorating” in Slovyansk, where “the entire town is under the control of armed groups.”

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