MOSCOW, March 14 Russia said on Friday it
reserved the right to protect compatriots in eastern Ukraine
after clashes in the city of Donetsk in which one person was
The Foreign Ministry said Thursday's violence in the
industrial city, where many people speak Russian, showed the
Ukrainian authorities had lost control.
A 22-year-old man was stabbed to death in the clashes
between pro-Russian protesters and a crowd favouring European
integration and denouncing Russian forces' seizure of Ukraine's
southern region of Crimea.
"Russia is aware of its responsibility for the lives of
compatriots and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the
right to take people under its protection," the Russian Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.
Implying the pro-Russian protesters were not to blame, the
ministry said peaceful protesters had been attacked by
right-wing groups armed with pneumatic guns and batons who
arrived from other parts of Ukraine.
Witnesses, however, said the pro-Russian demonstrators threw
eggs, smoke bombs and other missiles and broke through a police
cordon to beat their opponents with batons.
The death was the first reported in recent Ukrainian
violence outside the capital, Kiev. Police detained four people
accused of fomenting the clashes.
The right-wing party Svoboda, hostile to Russian policy,
said the dead man was one of its local activists.
Donetsk, a city of 1 million, was calm on Friday morning.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of supporting groups
in the Donetsk region which favour rule from Moscow and of
sending militants over the border.
The Kremlin says its intervention in favour of ethnic
Russians in Crimea was prompted by the removal of President
Viktor Yanukovich in what it describes as a coup staged by
Parliament has given President Vladimir Putin the right to
use the armed forces to protect Russians in Ukraine if