Kiev government powerless as east Ukraine slips out of its control
crowd storms regional HQ in Luhansk while Donetsk looks likely to
declare autonomy after May vote
beleaguered government appeared to have lost control of law and order
in the east of the country on Tuesday, after police again failed to
stop a pro-Russian crowd from seizing a key administrative building.
3,000 activists – some in masks and military fatigues – stormed
the regional government HQ in the eastern city of Luhansk. Police
supposed to guard the building let the crowd inside. A pro-Russian
militia had occupied the security service office in Luhansk, a town
of 465,000, just 20 miles (32km) from the Russian border.
unwillingness of security structures to defend public buildings from
separatist occupation has been a theme in eastern Ukraine since early
April. Supporters of the "Donetsk People's Republic" have
taken over a string of city halls and police stations. An armed unit
from Crimea – led by an alleged Russian colonel – has also
established a de facto military capital in the town of Slavyansk.
in recent days Kiev's tentative grip on local law enforcement in the
east appears to have slipped completely. In Luhansk riot police stood
passively in a courtyard, kettled in by separatists armed with bats
and hammers. "The regional leadership does not control its
police force," Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to the interior
minister in Kiev, told Reuters. "The local police did nothing."
a statement on Tuesday, Ukraine's interim president, Oleksandr
Turchynov, said: "The vast majority of law enforcement officials
in the east are not able to fulfil their obligation to protect our
Monday in Donetsk another contingent of riot police in full battle
gear had looked on as pro-Russian thugs attacked a peaceful pro-unity
rally. The separatists beat Ukraine supporters with iron rods.
Fourteen people needed hospital treatment. Two were seriously
injured. The mob also took five hostages: supporters of the city's
Shakhtar Donetsk football team, who had formed a protective cordon at
the front of the rally. The five were taken to an office near
Donetsk's occupied regional administration. They were eventually
released on Tuesday.
on Tuesday, seven or eight police officers in light blue uniforms
stood outside the office where the hostages had been kept. The scene
was peaceful. A few feet away volunteers from the "Donetsk
People's Republic", dressed in military fatigues, guarded the
entrance. They wore orange and black ribbons, the symbols of the
"republic's" anti-Kiev revolution. The two groups appeared
to be on friendly terms.
if the police had gone over to the separatists, the captain in
charge, Yevgeny, said: "Among the police there are different
opinions. Obviously our job is to uphold the law and apply it
"republic" has announced its own self-organised referendum
on the region's future status, to be held on 11 May. "I don't
make any secret of the fact that I'm for a referendum," Yevgeny
added. Another policeman chipped in: "We'll take part.
Personally I'm for Russia".
police were reluctant to talk about the bloody events of the previous
night, when they failed to protect civilians from attack. But one
officer who was there said: "This situation is all Kiev's fault.
They say we in the east are slaves, half-humans. They revere people
like Stepan Bandera [the second world war Ukrainian nationalist
leader] who shot our brothers. We are normal citizens like everyone
next to their patrol car, still striped with Ukraine's blue and
yellow colours, the officers reeled off a list of grievances. These
included low pay – $200-$250 (£120) a month. (One policewoman,
Svetlana, said: "I'm supposed to give my life for this. Who is
going to come to my mother afterwards and say "thanks for your
daughter?") They also complained that a mistrustful Kiev had
confiscated their service revolvers three weeks ago. "I can't
exactly defend myself," Yevgeny said, showing off his empty
captain said he was one of 400 Donetsk region police officers sent to
the capital to deal with anti-Yanukovych demonstrations, which began
last November. The experience had left him bitterly disillusioned. He
had nothing but contempt for the new government, part-formed from the
protest movement, he said. Other officers who had not been in Kiev
repeated claims made by Russian TV that the Maidan protesters were
paid narco-maniacs, and unemployed "fascists".
police even had sympathy for pro-Russian gunmen in Slavyansk, who are
holding 40 people prisoner, including seven European military
observers. One officer said: "Kiev started all this by arresting
our activists. They [in Slavyansk] are merely defending their
US embassy in Kiev said on Tuesday the abduction of the OSCE
inspectors and the attack on demonstrators by pro-Russian thugs in
Donetsk on Monday were acts of "terrorism".
is no place for these examples of inhuman behaviour in a modern,
democratic society. This is terrorism, pure and simple," it said
in a statement.
Tuesday the EU followed the US in widening sanctions, naming a
further 15 people it is targeting because of their roles in the
Ukraine crisis. The list included General Valery Gerasimov, chief of
the Russian general staff and first deputy defence minister, and
Lieutenant General Igor Sergun, identified as the head of GRU, the
Russian military intelligence agency.
Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, dismissed the new sanctions.
"We reject the sanctions … imposed by the United States and
the European Union against all common sense, in relation to the
events in Ukraine."
pro-Russian activist, 39-year-old Igor Vasilyovich, said at least
half of the local police supported the cause. "They understand
that without Russia we can't live properly," he said. Igor
admitted that not everybody in Donetsk – population one million –
was an enthusiast for the new unelected "republic". "We're
the active minority. We'll lead the passive majority," he said.
But what if the "republic" didn't succeed? "Then we'll
start a partisan war," he replied.
Taruta, the new governor sent by Kiev to head the Donetsk region,
admits that the police and security services in the east are not
doing their job. His officials attribute this to what they call
were sent to the capital, and were told that the protesters in Kiev
were their enemies. Now back in the east, the same enemies are
running the country. They are also unsure whether Viktor Yanukovych –
the president who fled to Russia – might come back again.
official said: "They [the police in the east] feel a mental
fight over who is their master. The problem is they are not sure if
it is Kiev, or Yanukovych and his family. We've had a lot of
conversations with commanders and officers. They are people from
here, and they feel angry and afraid."
official said the Donetsk police were acutely aware that the Russian
police salary was $2,000 – 10 times higher than their own. They
also regarded the Berkut riot police – disbanded for their alleged
role in the shooing of Maidan protesters – as local heroes. The
Donetsk police chief Konstantin Pozhidaev was doing all he could, the
official said, conceding: "It will take more time to achieve
a separatist referendum looming, Donetsk's pro-Kiev administrators
have little time left. Much of the region is unlikely to vote, but
that will probably not deter the "People's Republic" from
declaring an overwhelming victory. One self-appointed "deputy",
Anatoly Aneshenko, said on Tuesday the oblast or region was certain
to declare autonomy.
would happen to those who opposed this outcome? "Well, they can
leave," he said.
Anti-Kiev protesters take control of govt buildings in Lugansk Region, east Ukraine
RT,29 April, 2014
Anti-government protesters have taken control of the regional administration building and prosecutor’s office in the city of Lugansk, eastern Ukraine. Protests continue as the deadline for the protesters’ ultimatum to the government expired.
Fortifications quickly moved into place at government building in central #Lugansk,v few police still in building now pic.twitter.com/VkWXfjGgWE
— GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 29, 2014
RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov
Putin: Washington behind Ukraine events all along, though flying low
29 April, 2014
“I think what is happening now shows us who really was mastering the process from the beginning. But in the beginning, the United States preferred to remain in the shadow,” Putin said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Putin stated that since the US has taken a lead role in resolving the political crisis in Ukraine, it is “telling that they originally were behind this process, but now they just have emerged as leaders” of it.
The "Maidan cookies" policy paves the way to a broader crisis, Putin warned, referring to US officials showing up in central Kiev and encouraging protesters during demonstrations.
“It is necessary to understand that the situation is serious and try to find serious approaches to the solution,” he said.
Putin said that he has called on Kiev to start an all-Ukrainian dialogue, adding that other countries should not be blamed for the crisis.
“[They should] treat equally the rights of those living in other areas of Ukraine, first of all, I mean, the east and southeast, establish a dialogue, find a compromise," he told journalists while speaking about the measures necessary to put an end to the crisis. “Here's what you need to do; searching for the guilty outside Ukraine is wrong.”
Regarding the last row of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the EU, Vladimir Putin said he sees no need for counter sanctions.
"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in response," he told reporters. "But if something like that continues, we will of course have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how."
At the same time, the US and EU sanctions will not harm the Eurasian integration process, which is meant to lead to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, based on a Customs Union and common economic space among Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, he said.
Video: US deploys troops to Estonia
The US airborne division, which is to take part in NATO exercise 'Spring Storm' in May arrived in Estonia. Around 150 personnel arrived in the military transport aircraft to the Amari airbase, according to the country's defense ministry. -
Donetsk violence video: Tension, anger, brutality unleashed on east Ukraine city streets
READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/symtbc
From yesterday -