Govt warns Ukraine crisis may need force

Efforts to solve Ukraine’s deadly crisis peacefully without using force remain futile, Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko says, accusing protesters of hoarding firearms at their headquarters.


“The events of the last days in the Ukrainian capital have shown that our attempts to solve the conflict peacefully, without recourse to a confrontation of force, remain futile,” he said in a statement.

“Our calls have not been heeded and a truce is being violated.”

Accusing the mainstream opposition of failing to control radicals, Zakharchenko said the authorities now had information that the protesters were “hoarding firearms” at their headquarters in central Kiev.

He said that security forces locked in a standoff with protesters on Grushevsky Street in central Kiev for the past six days had held talks with opposition representatives overnight.

“The talks did not have any result. They (the opposition representatives) can no longer have any effect on the radical groups that are controlling seized buildings and directing the use of force,” he said.

Further ratcheting up the tensions, the interior ministry called on protesters to free two policemen who it said had been held in the Kiev city hall which has been occupied by protesters.

The opposition has denied the claim.

But in a clear threat to storm the building if they are not released, the interior ministry said it demanded the officers’ immediate liberation.

“If this is not fulfilled then the police will have to carry out measures to free those captured,” it said in a statement.

In another conspicuously-timed move, President Viktor Yanukovych appointed a new head of the Kiev city administration, sacking previous incumbent Olexander Popov who had been blamed over violence against protesters last year.

Yanukovych appointed Volodymyr Makeyenko to the post, which is essentially that of city mayor. His office is in the administration building currently occupied by protesters.