A PRIEST of the official Ukraine Orthodox Church (Moscow
Patriarchate) was killed last week after urging separatists to lay
down their arms, the Ukrainian state news agency Interfax has
The priest, Fr Pavlo Zhuchenko, was shot eight times from an
automatic weapon near a checkpoint in the Donetsk region last
Thursday, the agency says. An investigation is under way, but the
Prosecutor General's Office in Ukraine has already said that
"terrorists being co-ordinated by an outside aggressor" were
responsible for the killing.
On Sunday, residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions voted in
favour of independence in unofficial referendums. There was a
70-per-cent turnout in Donetsk, where 90 per cent voted in favour;
and a 75-per-cent turnout in Luhansk, where 96 per cent voted in
Within two hours of the results' being announced, separatist
leaders in Donetsk announced that they were applying to join the
"A constant barrage of propaganda by the Russian media, and a
steadily mounting death-toll, are contributing to an atmosphere of
fear, uncertainty, and division," the Foreign Secretary, William
Hague, told MPs this week.
"So-called pro-Russian separatists, led by people who by their
training, equipment, and behaviour give every appearance of
sometimes being Russian special forces, have continued to seize and
occupy government buildings in the south and east of Ukraine, using
many of the same tactics that were deployed in Crimea. We have seen
intimidation of journalists, abductions and murders.
"The polls were marked by blatant fraud, including multiple
voting, no proper voting lists, and threats and intimidation
against Ukrainians standing up for the unity of the country. These
referendums . . . have no credibility whatsoever.
"We will not recognise these, or any other attempts to undermine
the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Russia's illegal
annexation of Crimea."
A presidential election is due to take place in Ukraine on 25
May to elect a successor to Viktor Yanukovych who fled to Russia
after the Maidan massacre (News, 17