Just two hours after Ukrainian forces initiated an operation in eastern Ukraine to drive out insurgents occupying buildings in the region, where two pro-Russian occupiers where killed, Russia’s Defense Minister said that Russia had been “forced to react,” and announced military drills and exercises for their ground troops as well as air force stationed on the border between Russia and Ukraine.
News of the drills caused tensions to again rise in the region. In Kiev, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov accused Russia of “coordinating and openly supporting terrorists,” and called on Russian President Putin to curtail its intimidation campaign against his country.
In response, Putin said on Russian television, “If the Kiev government is using the army against its own people this is clearly a grave crime,” and also earlier stated that there would be consequences. Russia also told the United States that it must force the Ukraine to end the military operations in the Ukrainian east.
At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remarked that “military action must be avoided at all costs.” He stated that he was “seriously concerned that the situation could quickly spin out of control with consequences we cannot predict.”
In Prague, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytisa, told the associated press that ‘We will now fight with Russian troops if they invade Ukraine,” telling reporters that the Ukrainian people and army is ready.