21 April, 15:42

20 Kiev spies detained in Ukraine's Slavyansk by self-defense forces

Vladimir Ponomaryov

Vladimir Ponomaryov

Vladimir Ponomaryov

Self-defense forces in Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, have detained about 20 people suspected of spying for Kiev, Vladimir Ponomaryov, the people’s mayor of Slavyansk, told a Vzglyad newspaper correspondent. 

"We are searching for infiltrators and spies. Three were caught yesterday. Over a dozen have been caught already – around 20," Ponomaryov said. He gave no further details.

"Some things should better come in doses. Our adversaries also receive information through you and we intend to give them as little information as possible. Because we know that there are traitors among us. So far, however, they have been under control. We will apply measures to them if necessary," he said.

Earlier, maidan activist Irma Krat was detained in Slavyansk on suspicion of spying for the Right Sector radical group and of being involved in torturing people in Maidan in Kiev, Ponomaryov said.

Several other "young people" have been detained for excessive drinking and breaching public order and are now serving a labor duty – building barricades, he said.

"We prohibited alcohol sales in the town from 8 pm till 10 am and imposed a curfew from midnight till 6 am. That’s because we are in a war-like situation. We want to ensure the safety of our citizens. But many just don’t understand and go on carousing - until they realize what’s going on. We’ve talked to them and they feel remorse."

Things are getting more or less normal in Slavyansk, Ponomaryov said.

"I said before that things would calm down in about two weeks. And so it’s happening: bit by it, life is going back to normal."

A session of the Executive Council of Slavyansk will be convened on Tuesday, April 22, to discuss appointments to the local administration, the town’s mayor said.

"I will talk to our incumbent officials. Those who wish to keep their jobs will stay, those who don’t will be sacked – for sabotage," he explained.

Schools will reopen on Tuesday after being temporarily shut due to the events that occurred before Easter, the mayor said.

On Easter Eve, unidentified gunmen attacked a roadblock on the outskirts of Slavyansk. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry initially said that one person had been killed and three others had been wounded, but the protesters reported three dead and two wounded on their side. The figures were later confirmed by the Interior Department of the Donetsk region.

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