U.S.News & World Report

Putin wants troops out of Ukraine’s east, acting president renews military draft

The Associated Press

Pro-Russian activists clash with police in front of the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Thursday, May 1, 2014. Anti-government demonstrators in Donetsk have stormed the local prosecutor’s office. The clash came after a march by several hundred people carrying flags of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a movement that seeks either greater autonomy from the central government, or independence and possible annexation by Russia. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

 

Associated Press May 1, 2014 SHARE

By PETER LEONARD, Associated Press

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Ukraine should withdraw its military from the eastern and southern regions of the country, a statement that could bolster anti-government insurgents who are seizing buildings.

Hours later, Ukraine’s acting president ordered that the military draft be renewed, citing “threats of encroachment on the nation’s territorial integrity” and interference by Russia in its internal affairs.

Moscow has consistently denounced Ukrainian security forces’ largely ineffectual operation against the eastern insurgents and warned they should not commit violence against civilians.

In a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin said the removal of military units was the “main thing,” but it was unclear if that could be construed as an outright demand.

Oleksandr Turchynov’s conscription order marked a turnaround for the country, which last year announced plans to end military conscription in favor of an all-volunteer force. His order did not specify where conscript-bolstered forces could be deployed. The renewal of military conscription affects only men 18 to 25 years old.

Earlier in the week, the acting president said police and security forces had been effectively “helpless” against insurgents in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the heart of the unrest, and that efforts should be focused on preventing the instability from spreading to other parts of the country.

 

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