Ukraine crisis: Two bodies found 'brutally tortured by pro-Russian militants' in Slaviansk, says interim President Oleksander Turchinov

One of the men is said to be Volodymyr Rybak, a member of the ruling Batkivshchyna party

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 24 April 2014 02:17 BST

Ukraine’s interim President Oleksander Turchinov has called for an anti-terrorist operation to be re-launched on Tuesday, after he claimed that two bodies were found "brutally tortured by pro-Russian" militants near the eastern city of Slaviansk.

Mr Turchinov said in a statement that one of the bodies was that of Volodymyr Rybak, a member of the ruling Batkivshchyna party, who had recently been abducted by “terrorists.”

Local media said Mr Rybak was kidnapped in Horlivka, a nearby locality, on Wednesday last week.

Police from the regional headquarters in Donetsk said that the body of a man who died a violent death had been found in the Seversky-Donets river and that it resembled Mr Rybak, a local councillor in the town of Horlivka, near Donetsk.

They added that formal identification would require further work.

Mr Turchinov’s call follows the fragile Geneva accord agreed upon between Ukraine, Russia, the US and the EU, after which Kiev’s security forces had largely suspended the fairly limited operation to respond to the takeover of eastern towns by pro-Moscow separatists.

Now it is feared that Mr Turchinov's request may complicate the task of European mediators.

"These crimes are being carried out with the full support and indulgence of the Russian Federation," Mr Turchinov said.

"I call on the security agencies to relaunch and carry out effective anti-terrorist measures, with the aim of protecting Ukrainian citizens living in eastern Ukraine from terrorists," he added.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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