Ukraine: Blame passed between both sides as Easter fails to break tensions

Pro-Russian militant walks past burnt cars near a checkpoint in Slaviansk.
Pro-Russian militant walks past burnt cars near a checkpoint in Slaviansk. Credit: Reuters

Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine after at least three died in a day of shooting that took place during what was supposed to be an Easter truce.

Armed pro-Russian demonstrators, who now control the city of Slaviansk, claimed five of their own were killed by Ukrainian nationalists.

That claim was supported by the Russian government but questioned elsewhere, with the death toll disputed and Kiev saying that the attack was staged to fuel further instability in the country.

As Ukrainians across the country attempted to celebrate Easter, bitterness between the two sides continued despite the holiday season.

Ukraine's Prime Minister spoke on television claiming Vladimir Putin "had a dream to restore the Soviet Union", with no sign where his alleged aggression would end.

A pro-Russian insurgent poses for a photo with a child in Slaviansk.
An armed pro-Russian poses for a photo with a child in Slaviansk. Credit: Reuters

The self-appointed pro-Russian mayor of Slaviansk said the attacks in the city were evidence of fascist aggression and called for the aid of Russian troops.

Read: 'Slaviansk shooting' raises tensions in Ukraine