MOSCOW, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Russia said Saturday it would be "ludicrous" to hold presidential elections in Ukraine amid the rising tension and growing violence in the country.
"After what happened in Odessa, against the background of the unwinding spiral of confrontation in the country's southeast, we do not understand what elections Kiev, European capitals and Washington are talking about," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He accused Kiev authorities of being "direct accomplices" in the events in Odessa, in which at least 46 people were killed and over 170 others injured when pro- and anti-government protesters clashed on Friday, saying "their hands are full of blood."
Among the dead, mostly pro-Russia protesters, 30 were choked to death when radicals set fire to a trade union building, while eight others died as a result of jumping out of windows to escape the burning building.
Peskov said President Vladimir Putin extended his deep condolences to victims and families of the dead, but said Russia had not yet decided upon a response as "this element is absolutely new to us."
Meanwhile, the spokesman said Moscow had received thousands of calls requesting Russian assistance from southeast Ukraine, and pledged to further the de-escalation efforts.
"People are calling in despair, asking for help, the overwhelming majority demand Russian help," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
Peskov also said Moscow regrets that Western leaders have completely different views on the situation in Ukraine to that of Russia.
"The justification of the punitive operation by those who only a few months ago would not let the legitimate president, Viktor Yanukovych, restore order using legal means, are the highest manifestation of cynicism," he said.
Ukraine launched a major attack against pro-Russian forces around the eastern city of Slaviansk in the early hours of Friday, a move Russia said would destroy all hopes of fulfilling the Geneva agreement reached on April 17.
Clashes at Ukraine's Odessa kill at least 43
KIEV, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in Ukraine's Black Sea city of Odessa have killed at least 43 people and injured 174 others, the local government said Friday.
Among the dead, mostly pro-Russia protesters, 30 were choked to death when radicals set fire on a trade union building, while eight others died from jumping out of windows of the burning building. Full story