The UVF was responsible for orchestrating a series of racist attacks in south and east Belfast, the PSNI has said.
Assistant chief constable Will Kerr said the attacks had a "deeply unpleasant taste of a bit of ethnic cleansing".
He made the comments during a meeting of the Policing Board on Thursday afternoon.
He said the attacks had also contributed to a 70% rise in hate crime in the city.
It comes after up to 100 masked and armed UDA men laid siege on a housing estate in Larne on Sunday.
The huge mob, many wielding baseball bats and sledgehammers, descended on the town and set about destroying three properties.
Attempts were made to set fire to at least one of the houses while the occupants were inside.
Two houses in the Ferris Avenue area, where two brothers lived, were gutted.
Dozens of masked men smashed their way into the properties. A 15-year-old girl in one of the houses was chased upstairs.
Sources said an altercation involving five men in Larne on Saturday afternoon – which left three hospitalised – was connected to Sunday's attacks.