PRO-RUSSIAN GUNMEN walk past the mayor’s office in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Mere days after diplomats from the Unites States, European Union, Russian Federation and Ukraine met in Geneva to diffuse tensions in Ukraine's east, US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russian intelligence forces on Thursday of "actively" undermining the Ukrainian government.
At a State Department press briefing, Kerry stated that, "The simple reality is you can’t resolve a crisis when only one side is willing to do what is necessary to avoid a confrontation." The secretary added, "It is clear that only one side, one country, is keeping its word. And for anyone who wants to create gray areas out of black, or find in the fine print crude ways to justify crude actions, let’s get real – the Geneva agreement is not open to interpretation. It is not vague. It is not subjective. It is not optional. What we agreed to in Geneva is as simple as it is specific."
Kerry further characterizing Russian tactics as "crude ways to conduct crude actions."
"Russia continues to fund, coordinate and fuel a heavily armed separatist movement," Kerry said, warning that "If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake— it will be an expensive mistake."
29 Ukrainian government facilities in the east of the country raided by pro-Russian separatist forces since Moscow claimed a full annexation of the Crimea peninsula last month.
The Kremlin honored Russian special forces for that mission.
"We agreed that all sides would refrain from violence, intimidation, and taking provocative actions," Kerry said, "We agreed that illegal groups would lay down their arms and that, in exchange for amnesty, they would hand over the public buildings and spaces that they occupied."
Pointing out Russia as the culprit behind the situation, Kerry stated that not a single Russian official had gone on television in Ukraine and called on the separatists to "support the Geneva agreement, to stand-down, to give up their weapons, and get out of the Ukrainian buildings."
Kerry said that American intelligence had determined Russia has taken an "active role in destabilizing Ukraine" with personnel, funding and propaganda.
According the secretary's remarks, the Government of Ukraine reported the arrest of Russian intelligence agents, including one on Wednesday who it says was responsible for establishing secure communications allowing Russia to coordinate destabilizing activities in Ukraine.
"No amount of propaganda is able to hide such actions," the Kerry state said, "The world knows that peaceful protesters don’t come armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons, the latest issue from the Russian arsenal, hiding the insignias on their brand new matching military uniforms, and speaking in dialects that every local knows comes from thousands of miles away. The world knows that the Russian intelligence operatives arrested in Ukraine didn’t just take a wrong turn on the highway. In fact, we have seen soldiers wearing uniforms identical to the ones Russian soldiers wore in Crimea last month."