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Pro-Russian gunmen kill Ukrainian officer as U.S. warns Moscow to back down

Post TV

Crimea may only have been the beginning

Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces on Sunday battled for control of a police compound in eastern Ukraine, with both sides reporting at least one casualty. One Ukrainian security officer was killed and five others wounded, with Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov claiming an "unidentifiable number" of casualties among the separatists.

The fighting came after pro-Russian gunmen stormed the police headquarters and occupied other buildings in the small eastern city of Slaviansk. Ukrainian officials feared the armed incidents could forewarn another movement like the one that drove Crimea to break away and join Russia, and they and the White House accused Moscow of promoting the violence specifically to achieve that end.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Laura Lucas Magnuson said in a statement it appeared as though Russia was "inciting violence and sabotage and seeking to undermine and destabilize the Ukrainian state," adding, "We saw similar so-called protest activities in Crimea before Russia’s purported annexation. "