Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last Call For Deadlines In Ukraine

Meanwhile in Ukraine, things aren't going really well and we've reached the point where things may actually take a major turn into open conflict in a matter of hours.

Ukraine has given pro-Russian separatists a Monday morning deadline to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" by its armed forces, raising the risk of a military confrontation with Moscow.

Angered by the death of a state security officer and the wounding of two comrades near the flashpoint eastern city of Slaviansk, acting president Oleksander Turchinov gave rebels occupying state buildings until 0600 GMT to lay down their weapons.

"The National Security and Defense Council has decided to launch a full-scale anti-terrorist operation involving the armed forces of Ukraine," Turchinov said in an address to the nation.

He blamed Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea region when Moscow-backed former president Viktor Yanukovich fled after months of pro-Western protests, for being behind the rash of rebellions across Russian-speaking towns in eastern Ukraine.

"We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine," Turchinov said.

Of course the only ones left at this point who believe that Russia will somehow not be able to repeat the Crimean scenario in eastern Ukraine is the government in Kiev.  Turchinov seems to think Putin is bluffing with those tens of thousands of massed troops on the border.  If this turns into a shooting war and that bluff is called, a whole lot of people are going to die.

Meanwhile, the "spontaneous" pro-Russian protests in half a dozen eastern Ukrainian cities continue.  And of course, Russia will have to step in and "secure the interests of the Russian minority in the region".

A NATO source told the BBC the organisation believed that "Russian forces have been involved in the seizure of some of the buildings".

And the US ambassador to the UN said the attacks on police and other buildings in eastern Ukraine had "telltale signs of Moscow's involvement".

"It's professional, co-ordinated. Nothing grass-roots about it," ambassador Samantha Power told ABC News.

"The forces are doing in each of the six or seven cities they have been active in exactly the same thing."

A senior Ukrainian intelligence official said his country's special services had evidence proving Russia's direct involvement in the events in eastern Ukraine.

"We have not only evidence, we have 18 detainees, we have career officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, we have arrested agents complete with instructions, arms and explosives," Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said in a live TV discussion programme.

Our UN ambassador is saying that of course this is all Russia's doing in order to create a pretext for Russian invasion.  The problem is, Turchinov is playing directly into that.

Monday is going to be a bad day in Ukraine.

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