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Hatred, Propaganda Turning East Ukraine Into Next Crimea: U.N.

Misinformation, propaganda and incitement to hatred are causing tensions in eastern Ukraine that could lead to the region breaking away like Crimea, according to a United Nations report published Tuesday.

The report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said there are clear parallels between the current unrest and the situation that led to Russia's annexation of the southern Black Sea peninsula last month.

"In eastern Ukraine, where a large ethnic Russian minority resides, the situation remains particularly tense," the report said.

"It will be important to immediately take initial measures to build confidence between the [Ukrainian] government and the people, and among the various communities, and reassure all people throughout Ukraine that their main concerns will be addressed."

The report urged the Ukrainian government to ensure accountability for any human rights violations committed during the unrest and said that back in the capital Kiev it should encourage equal participation for all groups and minorities in public life.

The Ukraine government has been accused of having a disproportionately large far-right element following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych.

The report said the anti-Yanukovych movement that protested between November and February in the capital Kiev was radicalized by the excessive force of the Berkut riot police. This included fatal shootings, torture, beatings, and other "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" treatment.

It added that the referendum that led to Crimea's annexation raised a number of human rights concerns because of the presence of paramilitary groups and allegations of vote-rigging.

- Alexander Smith