Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ukraine - Fighting Back

The government of Ukraine seems to have found some cojones and is fighting back against the rebels in the east. They must have come to the conclusion that Putin will order in the troops regardless so they are simply not going to put up with the crap anymore.   Putin claims he is getting "thousands" of calls for them to intervene.  I wonder if they re from the "700,000 Ukrainian refugees" they reported a couple of months ago along with pictures of a line up of cars at The Polish border.

Keep in mind that Russia has never invaded another country, even when they were collaborating with Hitler from the beginning of WWII in Sept 1939.  They ONLY go there to help out their brothers in trouble.

Ukrainian military has apparently recaptured some of the rebel held towns and the TV transmission tower and have squeezed the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk though retaking it would require basic house to house street fighting and high civilian casualties.

There were reports that armed rebels hiding behind civilians killed four Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 12 others.  Two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down with some kind of shoulder launched missiles killing two and wounding one.  Rebels have been killed but the number is of course disputed.

There are also "little black men" in eastern Ukraine who are officially or unofficially going after the rebels, in particular the Russian leaders.  Hard to track that one down but I do not doubt it.  People are starting to get fed up with the BS.

Some good news.  The OSCE officials have been released and a few journalists but there are still 31 people either held or unaccounted for, including several journalists.

Odessa is a tragedy.  Over 40 dead and the count keeps rising.  Several killed in street fighting (some shot) and a great many died in a fire in the Union Building.  Trying to sort out the time lines of the action is difficult but THIS SITE from an eyewitness seems to have it best.

A pro-Ukraine march had been planned but via social media, they learned that the anti-Maidan faction as it is called there, was going to waylay it and break it up violently.  So they were ready for them when it happened.  Not sure when the shooting occurred but it was pro-Ukraine people who were murdered.  The pro-Ukraine side drove the thugs back into the Union Building where they barricaded themselves in and began shooting and throwing Molotov cocktails.

Russian TV reported that Ukrainian Right Sector Nazis attacked a counter march and drove the peaceful demonstrators into the building then set it on fire, so we know that isn't what happened.  Police say that the thugs accidentally set the building on fire with their own Molotov cocktails but since both sides were throwing them, it is hard to say.  Most of the deaths were from smoke inhalation.  The pro-Ukrainian side then went and burned the protesters camp site.

There were over 200 injured, mostly from the pro-Ukrainian side.  There is concern for their safety and the need to provide security in case the pro-Russian side come looking for them in the hospitals, as happened in Kyiv during EuroMaidan

Most of the dead and many of those arrested were Russian citizens from Transdniestria, Moldova, which is quite close and serves as a staging ground for Russian supported disruption in the Odessa region.

Russia blames Right Sector for everything as they are the most extreme of the parties in Ukraine and played an active role in the fighting on EuroMaidan.  They seem them everywhere and behind everything.  Russian tactics are a great recruiting mechanism for Right Sector and there were some involved in the fighting in Odessa though they were not necessarily wearing armbands but identified themselves to journalists.  As the civilian population begins to also fight back, Right Sector are the obvious leaders and the group to join, regardless of their ideology.  When moderation fails the radicals take over.

This article from the NY Times on the rebel combatants in Slaviansk is worth reading.  Assuming they are telling the truth, there is currently no Russian leadership in this small group of fighters, who are all ex-special forces of one kind or another but Ukrainian citizens.  They are however not united in their views of why they are doing what they are doing.


6 comments:

  1. Scary, but I'm not surprised by any of it.

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  2. Scary times. Hope things are still relatively settled in your area.

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    1. We are still here and life is still normal. I wish it were fiction, too. It does give me an idea of what many countries of the world go through/have gone through.
      Zhovti Vody is a uranium mining town which means Putin will pick us up on his way through to Odessa and Moldova. In the mean time, no provocations are likely as this is a strong Ukrainian area, though I hear the police station is barricaded to prevent takeovers. Isn't it fun?

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