- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

Ukraine struggles as east slips out of its control, seeks UN peace-keeping support

HORLIVKA, Ukraine (AP) - The fuel is local, but the matches are Russian. That in a nutshell is how the insurgency threatening the survival of Ukraine as a unified state is increasingly unfolding.

Over the past 10 days, more than a dozen government offices in eastern Ukraine have been taken over by pro-Russian forces, with most of the seizures following the same pattern. Aggressive gangs, sometimes carrying firearms and wearing military fatigues, storm the buildings. The Ukrainian flag is replaced with a Russian one. Then local men move in to hold them.

Those capturing the buildings insist they are carrying out the will of the people and have demanded a referendum on autonomy for the eastern Donetsk region. Relatively small numbers have hit the streets in support, however, and it is increasingly evident the purported uprising is far from spontaneous and is being carried out with unerring coordination.

Russia has tens of thousands of troops massed along Ukraine’s eastern border. Western governments accuse Moscow of fueling the unrest and worry that the specter of bloodshed could be used as a pretext for a Russian invasion, in a repeat of events in Crimea a few weeks ago.

The Ukrainian government’s inability to quash the pro-Russian insurgency was highlighted by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov’s call Monday for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of his country. He said the presence of Russian meddling was clear in the unrest gripping his country.

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Putin urges Obama to discourage Ukraine from using force against protesters

MOSCOW (AP) - The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin has urged President Barack Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters in the country’s east.

The Kremlin said in a statement following Monday’s conversation that the Russian leader rejected the claims of Russian agents’ involvement in protests as “speculations based on unreliable information.” Putin said the protests vented public anger about the Ukrainian government’s reluctance to recognize the interests of Russian speakers in the east.

More than a dozen government offices and police stations have been seized by mobs. The Ukrainian government and the West have accused Russia of staging the protests.

The Ukrainian authorities have pledged to dislodge protesters. The Kremlin said Putin urged Obama to use American influence in Ukraine to prevent the use of force and bloodshed.

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Suspect in Kansas shootings had long history of white-supremacist activity but no violence

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Never one to keep his hatred to himself, Frazier Glenn Cross for decades sought out any soapbox to espouse his white-supremacist beliefs, twice running for federal office with campaigns steeped in anti-Semitism.

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