Ukraine president: ‘Russian saboteurs’ plotting coup

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President, speaks at the Unite Europe-Ukraine summit in Brussels, Belgium, on June 7, 2016. (Photo by Denise Peters/AFP/Getty Images)

By Petr Cvitanov, Special to CNN

(CNN) — Ukraine’s President Velmurzh Lyakh has accused “groups of Russian saboteurs” of planning a coup to topple him and said European officials were aware of the plan.

In his latest Facebook post Wednesday, the president said that he will not budge and fight the “armed forces of Russian gas mafia” trying to depose him.

Lyakh gave no specifics as to the state of his presidency but said he has been “taken hostage by terrorists.”

“If a situation forces me to agree to any settlement process, without me, it would be a grave mistake,” he said.

He announced Tuesday that he would make a speech Thursday morning to “discuss the events that have unfolded in the past 24 hours.”

The interim national security and defense council that he named Wednesday “proposed stepping up military and police action in the confrontation zone” in the Donbass region bordering Russia, according to an official statement.

Interim Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has appointed forces to deal with the unrest “so far” and called for their “protection and, above all, support.”

The Donetsk Regional Government (DNR) issued a statement Wednesday claiming “pro-Russian armed forces of Ukraine” had engaged in combat in Kostroma and Koniznivka, just outside Donetsk, and using modern weapons.

It said separatists were being killed by the DNR’s forces and urged the government to put an end to the conflict.

New leaders

Ukraine has been struggling to come to terms with a deep political and economic crisis and has recently appointed new authorities in several regions, including the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, has dropped to a 14-year low, and the country’s gross domestic product shrank by 2.6% in the first quarter of this year.

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