Diplomats from throughout Europe are working to ensure the May 25 presidential election in Ukraine runs as smoothly as possible.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski was one of the latest dignitaries to visit Kyiv. He will remain in the capital to celebrate Europe Day on May 17.
The crisis in the south east of Ukraine has dominated talks, with interim President Olexander Turchynov calling on people in the area to back the government’s military operation.
“I’m appealing to residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” he said. “You have to support the anti-terrorist operation and together defeat terrorists and separatists in these regions.”
Situated on the main thoroughfare between separatist stronghold Kharkiv and the Russian border town of Rostov-on-Don, Slovyansk has become a strategic city for pro-Russian insurgents.
“Today, we are manning a strategic checkpoint on the main road from Rostov to Kharkiv,” said one pro-Russian separatist. “We aim to repel an attack from forces loyal to the Kyiv faction and we will remain here until the last man. We are building bunkers.”
The checkpoint was built following sporadic violence between pro-Russian militia and Ukranian government forces on Thursday night.
Similar clashes have left dozens dead in the east and south of the country in May alone.
Ukrainian security forces have struggled to reassert government control in the regions.
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