DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for pro-Russian gunmen to free government buildings in eastern Ukraine and surrender weapons has passed.
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov issued a decree Sunday that those protesters who disarm and vacate government offices in several cities in the Russian-leaning east of the country by 0600 GMT Monday will not be prosecuted. Turchynov vowed that a “large-scale anti-terrorist operation” would take place to re-establish control over those areas and that the fate of the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia last month, will not be repeated.
There was no immediate comment from the government on the deadline passing.
The West has accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest. Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, claimed that the Kiev government was coordinating its actions with the CIA.