President Says Police 'Helpless' Against Unrest in Ukraine - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

President Says Police 'Helpless' Against Unrest in Ukraine

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Ukraine's acting president says police and security forces are "helpless" to quell unrest in two eastern regions bordering Russia.
And he says in some cases, they've been cooperating with pro-Russian gunmen who've seized scores of government buildings and taken people hostage, in hopes of preventing the violence from spreading to other territories.
Pro-Russia gunmen seized more administrative buildings today in the cities of Horlivka and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
The acting president, in a meeting with regional governors today, told them to try to prevent the unrest from overtaking more central and southern regions of the country.
Meanwhile, city authorities in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, have announced middle-of-the-night military drills tonight, which will involve military equipment.
Russia has placed tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine. And the Ukrainian president says the threat of a Russian invasion is real. According to the Interfax news agency, he's calling for creating regional self-defense units throughout the country.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her government is trying "all diplomatic channels possible" to win the release of seven observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who are being held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Merkel told reporters Wednesday her government's efforts include direct contact with Russia, in the hope leaders in Moscow can use their influence to persuade the militants to release the hostages.
The chancellor says "we have been in touch with the Russian president via the presidential adviser -- from there we hear that there are efforts" being made to help. She said she couldn't elaborate.
Eight military observers were taken hostage earlier this month and one has been released. The seven still being held include three German officers and a German interpreter.
And - Senate Republicans critical of President Barack Obama's foreign policy are unveiling legislation they say will be more effective in deterring Russian aggression.
GOP leader Mitch McConnell and eight other lawmakers plan to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would strengthen NATO, speed up work on missile defense and impose sanctions on Russia's banking and energy sectors.
Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the Obama administration. He says its policies are creating dangers for U.S. citizens and amount to nothing more than rhetoric. He spoke on the Senate floor.
On Monday, the U.S. announced economic sanctions against government officials in Moscow and some businesses, the latest round of penalties in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian separatists seizing of buildings in eastern Ukraine.   (AP)
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