- Foreign affairs May 3
Officials said the largest number — at least 36 people — were killed when a fire broke out in a government building occupied by pro-Russia protesters. The Black Sea port city of Odessa, where much of the fighting occurred, declared a three-day mourning period, but Ukraine is not backing down: "The active phase of the operation continued at dawn (today)," Arsen Avakov, the country's acting interior minister, wrote on his Facebook page. "We will not stop."
This morning, pro-Russia militants released the seven OSCE military observers, along with their five Ukrainian assistants. One of the insurgents' leaders initially told reporters that the observers were released after more than a week in captivity because of increasing insecurity in the city of Slovyansk, where they were being held. But he later backtracked on that, telling the AP, "they are not being released - they are leaving us, as we promised."
Moscow, which for weeks has threatened intervention into what it claims is a case of Russians being persecuted in Ukraine, addressed the most recent fighting in a statement this morning: "People are calling in despair, asking for help, the overwhelming majority demand Russian help," Dmitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters. "All these calls are reported to Vladimir Putin."- -
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