Ukraine's 'Easter Truce' Faltering After Gun Attack

Moscow blames members of Russia's radical Right Sector group for a deadly shootout in Slavyansk Sunday.
Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 20, 2014

That "Easter Truce" Ukraine agreed to may have just gone out the window.

A deadly shootout Sunday morning near the eastern town of Slavyansk killed as many as five people. This video from journalist Graham Phillips purportedly shows the aftermath. (Via YouTube / Graham Phillips )

Slavyansk is one several Ukrainian cities overrun by anti-government protesters who want independence from Ukraine. (Via Google Maps)

​In an attempt to ease tensions, Kiev pledged not to use force against them until after the Easter holidays Monday. In turn, the pro-Russian militants were supposed to disarm, which they've refused to do. (Via Euronews)

Still, it didn't take long for Russia to seize upon this latest outbreak of violence as proof Ukraine hasn't been sticking to its end of the bargain. While the identity of the attackers is unclear, Moscow blamed the Slavyansk shootout on a Ukrainian neo-nationalist group known as the Right Sector. 

According to state-funded Russian network RT, a medallion was found at the scene with the Right Sector's paramilitary symbol on it — suggesting the group was involved. 

But according to Time, Moscow's account of what happened doesn't quite add up. While there were reports of major gunfire, a Time reporter saw only a few bullet holes at the scene. And while five people are said to have died "the only traces of blood were on the inside of a camouflage cap left at the scene."

Despite the apparent inconsistencies, Russian media was running with the story Sunday morning. And that, some observers say, was just the fuel the separatists needed to call on President Vladimir Putin to send in peacekeepers. (Via Life News, KommersantNTV, Voice of Russia)

Meanwhile, Kiev insists Moscow is orchestrating the unrest. In a taped appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk lashed out at Putin. 

“President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union. And every day, he goes further and further.”

Some 40,000 Russian troops remain stationed along Ukraine's eastern border. Russia says they're there simply for military exercises