ROSTOV REGION, June 19 (RIA Novosti) – Hostilities in eastern Ukraine are a “civil war steadfastly heading toward genocide,” according to the Kremlin chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov.
Speaking at a meeting with volunteers who help accommodate Ukrainian refugees in Russia’s southern Rostov Region, Lavrov said Thursday that, “What is going on there [in Ukraine] is, in my opinion, a civil war steadfastly heading toward genocide of [the country’s] own population.”
Vladimir Gromov, a Luhansk-based opposition activist who heads southeastern counter-intelligence forces, has accused Ukrainian command of deliberately targeting civilian quarters during their sweeping missile attacks on the city.
“They target the most defenseless citizens. It is systematic genocide. An ethnic cleansing,” Gromov said Wednesday in a comment to RIA Novosti.
Violence in southeastern Ukraine has been on the rise since the beginning of a punitive operation launched by the Kiev authorities in mid-April that has claimed hundreds of lives.
Over the past few days, the Ukrainian army increased the intensity of mortar attacks, pounding residential districts and places with high population density.
Moscow has called for an immediate end to the bloodshed, but despite numerous promises to initiate the de-escalation process, Kiev has so far not made any moves to stop the attack.