Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, says the country’s armed forces have been put on full military alert, in case of a Russian invasion.
Russia maintains it has no plans to invade eastern Ukraine, following its annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi have agreed that all sides must observe a deal reached in Geneva to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis.
But Kyiv is continuing to prepare its armed forces.
“I once again return to the real danger of the Russian Federation beginning a land war against Ukraine,” Turchynov said. He added: “Our armed forces have been put on full military readiness.”
He also condemned police for failing to quell a wave of uprisings, most recently in Horlivka.
Turchynov has accused Moscow of encouraging Russian-speaking rebels to seize several government buildings across the industrial east.
The separatists are holding a group of OSCE observers, leading Ertugrul Apakan, head of the European security watchdog’s mission in Ukraine, to appeal for their release.
“Our task is to monitor and to establish facts and report their wrong, and it should be objective and impartial reporting,” he told reporters. “We are here and from time to time, we would like to be visible to you also.”
An armed uprising began in eastern Ukraine at the beginning of April. Dissidents in the region have called a referendum on secession for May 11.
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