Outrage Out Of Moscow As News Of Ukrainian Offensive Spreads

Moscow has accused the U.S. and EU of destroying hopes for peace in eastern Ukraine by supporting the interim government's attempts to retake towns occupied by pro-Russia militants.

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Russia reacted to news of the Ukrainian offensive in Slavyansk with outrage. The Russian mission at the United Nations has called for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said the action had effectively destroyed all hope for the Geneva Peace Accords. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports on the view from Moscow.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: The Ukrainian clash with pro-Russian separatists in Slavyansk was headline news on Russia's state-run TV channels, which portrayed the move as an assault on protesters who are fighting for their rights against an illegitimate government in Kiev.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: Russia 24 opened its broadcast with video of civilian men and women attempting to block Ukrainian armored personnel carriers with their bodies.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLASHING)

FLINTOFF: Correspondents reporting from Slavyansk portrayed a city under siege and showed images of men and women building new barricades from tires and tree trunks. The report described the attackers not as soldiers of the Ukrainian army, but as members of the ultra-nationalist group Right Sector.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Putin, told Russian news media that the Ukrainian advance was a punitive operation aimed at civilians.

DMITRY PESKOV: (Through translator) We regretfully say that the actions of the Kiev authorities nullify the Geneva agreements. Now, nobody can count on even partial fulfillment of those agreements.

FLINTOFF: Russia's foreign ministry said that any attack on civilians in the region would have consequences for the government in Kiev. Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Moscow.

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