Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accused Russia of paying people to cause unrest in east Ukraine and create a pretext for invasion as Ukraine forced out protesters from government buildings.
“What we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary,” Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington.
Kerry said the White House is prepared to impose more economic sanctions than have already been enacted if Russia keeps backing upheaval in Ukraine. The White House said Kerry will meet with European, Ukrainian and Russian diplomats in the coming days to try to solve the crisis.
Ukrainian security forces Tuesday forced pro-Russia protesters out of the regional government headquarters in Kharkiv, close to the border with Russia. About 70 protesters who say they want to secede from Ukraine set the building on fire before being arrested. Demonstrators in Donetsk continued to occupy a government building there.
Is there anyone that doesn’t think Russian agents are instigating as much chaos in eastern Ukraine as possible?
Whether they’re doing so as pretext to occupy more of Ukraine, or simply to further destabilize the still very shaky new regime is anyone’s guess. But either way, the Russian approach would be the same.