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Ukrainian PM accuses Russia of plotting clashes in Odessa

Russia should be responsible for the deadly clashes that killed more than 40 people in the southern port city of Odessa, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Sunday.

"Russia's aim was to repeat in Odessa what is happening in the east of the country," Yatsenyuk told reporters during a visit to Odessa.

"What happened in Odessa was part of a plan by the Russian Federation to destroy Ukraine and its statehood," he said, "Russia sent people here to create chaos."

He added he had charged prosecutors with "finding all instigators, all organizers and all those that, under Russian leadership, began a deadly attack on Ukraine and Odessa."

Ukrainians should unite and put an end to their differences "so as not to give the terrorists backed by Moscow the opportunity to divide our people," the prime minister said.

Yatsenyuk also said all the city's police chiefs had been sacked for not preventing the clashes and ensuing deaths.

Clashes erupted between pro- and anti-government protesters in Odessa Friday, killing at least 43 people and injuring more than 170 others.

Tensions in eastern Ukraine have been escalating since mid-April following an armed confrontation between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Moscow activists, who demand a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.

Kiev has repeatedly blamed Moscow for inciting the unrest and splitting Ukraine. Russia denies the charges.

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Sunday that Kiev needed help to establish a dialogue with pro-Russia activists in southeastern Ukraine.

"It appears that without external help the Kiev authorities are not capable of establishing such a dialogue," Karasin told Rossiya-24 television.

He said steps would soon be taken to bring a dialogue about, without giving further details.

[Source: Xinhua, Kiev, 04May14]

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