A masked pro-Russia protester talks on a cell phone as he
stands near Ukranian police officers outside a regional
government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine's acting president accused Russia of aiding
"terrorists" who killed a politician from his own party, urging
a crackdown in the east that could hamper international efforts
to defuse the crisis.
As Vice President Joe Biden flew home from a brief visit to
demonstrate solidarity with Kiev's new leaders against
Moscow, Oleksander Turchinov called on security forces to
relaunch an operation against pro-Russian separatists that
was suspended after a deal with Moscow last week on disarming
In fact, Ukraine's poorly resourced forces had previously
shown little sign of taking on the gunmen who started
occupying towns and public buildings two weeks ago.
Turchinov's call may not lead to much more action. But it may
fuel recriminations between Moscow and Kiev about who is
failing to honour the deal.
Describing marks of "brutal torture" on the body of kidnapped
Batkivshchyna party politician Volodymyr Rybak when found
near the separatist stronghold of Slaviansk, Turchinov said
in a statement: "These crimes are being carried out with the
full support and indulgence of the Russian Federation.
"I call on the security agencies to relaunch and carry out
effective anti-terrorist measures, with the aim of protecting
Ukrainian citizens living in eastern Ukraine from
Since Russia signed up to the four-way accord in Geneva along
with Ukraine and Kiev's U.S. and EU allies, militants who
deny taking orders from Moscow and whom Russia denies it
controls, have if anything tightened their grip on about a
dozen buildings and towns, mostly in the industrial Donetsk
Mediators from Europe's security body, the OSCE, have been
charged with negotiating an end to the standoff in
Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, which follows the overthrow
of the Kremlin-backed president in Kiev two months ago and
Russia's subsequent occupation and annexation of the Crimea
Having met the leader of separatists in Slaviansk on Monday,
the chief OSCE negotiator met those occupying the government
headquarters in the regional capital Donetsk. One of them
told reporters they had agreed to vacate the council chamber
and two floors of the 11-storey block, though details were
In Kramatorsk, near Slaviansk, the Ukrainian Interior
Ministry condemned the abduction of the local police chief
and the takeover of the SBU security service building the
previous day. It said Kramatorsk's police chief was being
Militants in Slaviansk buried three men killed in a gunfight
in the early hours of Sunday that Kiev and Moscow accused
each other of staging deliberately to hinder peace
Hundreds of people turned out at a local church. Men in blue
uniforms and Cossack hats carried the coffins. Several masked
gunmen in camouflage were also in attendance. The Ukrainian
government says Russian special forces are in the city.
There were tears and chants of "Rossiya!" - Russia - from
people who want the Donbass coal and steel belt around
Donetsk and Luhansk regions to follow Crimea into union with
"They gave their lives for greater rights for all of us in
the Donbass," said Dmitry, 26, who wore a camouflage coverall
and a vest filled with ammunition clips in pockets. "They
died for our freedom and our future in great Russia."
"Rest assured, we'll have our revenge," another gunman said.
One mourner shouted at journalists: "Look at these bodies.
Report the truth. I am warning you - tell the truth."
Separatist militants have detained several journalists for
short periods and are holding at least two for longer. The
self-declared mayor of the Slaviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov,
told a news conference on Tuesday that an American had been
Vice News, an online news site, said it was in touch with the
U.S. State Department to secure the safety of Simon
Ostrovsky, who has been covering the Ukraine crisis for weeks
and whom fellow journalists saw being detained on Monday.
Slaviansk has been a focus of violence. The Ukrainian Defence
Ministry said one of its aircraft was hit by bullets on
Tuesday during a reconnaissance flight over the city.
The Interior Ministry said Rybak's was identified as one of
two bodies found in a river on Saturday. Both appeared to
have drowned after being tortured. It said Rybak had an
altercation with separatists after a demonstration on
Thursday in favour of Ukrainian unity in Horlivka, where he
was a town councillor.
He was last seen later that day being forced into a car by
four masked men in camouflage. The ministry concluded that
both men were tortured and killed by militants from
Acting president Turchinov said: "Terrorists who have
effectively taken the whole Donetsk region hostage, have
crossed a line, starting to torture and murder Ukrainian
"They throw down an insolent challenge not only to our
country but to the entire international community when they
commit blatant outrages against the decisions taken in
Like Turchinov, Rybak was a member of the Batkivshchyna, or
Fatherland, party led by Yulia Tymoshenko. A former prime
minister, she was jailed for corruption under President
Viktor Yanukovich and freed when the Moscow-backed leader
fled from protests triggered by his rejection of closer ties
with the EU.
Tymoshenko herself, running for president in an election due
on May 25, was in Donetsk on Tuesday. Her aides tried to set
up a news conference close to the occupied regional
government building but were forced to change venue after a
hostile crowd sprayed a fire hose on the area and pelted them
Tymoshenko lost the 2010 presidential election to Yanukovich,
whose power base is in his home town of Donetsk. She is seen
by many Russian-speakers in the east as an advocate for
Ukrainian-speaking nationalists in the west of the