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Dmitry Tymchuk has just put his credibility on the line by predicting that the Russians will be invading Eastern Ukraine tonight. These are serious allegations. If he is right, then his credibility will shoot sky high. If he is wrong, then I may never rely on him as a source of information any time soon.

We, the group "Information Resistance," have received from our reliable sources the satisfactory confirmation of the statement of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry that the observed activity of the separatists in eastern Ukraine which has been lasting for the last three days is nothing but the beginning of the second phase of the scenario for the Russian invasion in our country.

In particular, according to our information, the separatist leaders, who follow the plan of General Headquarters of Russian Armed Forces, have been given the instructions to organize a "corridor" through the state border of Ukraine for passage of the convoys of military equipment from the Russian territory at the night of April 8-9.

If he's wrong, this diary will remain as a record of his wrong prediction. Truth is the first casualty in war. If he's right, then we will update live as much as possible.

He continues:

Separatists also have received the orders to organize provocations with the casualties in the cities of the region which could be interpreted by the Russian side as "terror against the people organized by Ukrainian authorities."

In addition, the coordinators of Russian Directorate General of Intelligence of General Headquarters of Russian Armed Forces, who work in the region, have instructed the separatists to use gunfire weapon in case the attempts to liberate the occupied administrative buildings are taken.

In Luhansk, the Kiev Post alleges that separatists are using 60 human shields so that Ukrainian forces will not storm the building.
Security sources, speaking to the Kyiv Post on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give public statements, said that the civilian hostages inside the seized headquarters may be serving as human shields -- willingly or unwillingly -- to make an armed police raid against the separatists less likely. According to these sources, the civilians in the seized state building had been participants in recent pro-Russian rallies in Luhansk, suggesting at least some of them may have joined the separatists willingly. Some are said to be elderly "babushkas" who took part in demonstrations against Ukraine's government in Kyiv.

The separatists are demanding an immediate referendum in the eastern industrial oblast on whether to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

However, the problem with this account is that it relies on anonymous sources, so treat with skepticism in the absence of corroborating evidence.

In Donetsk, Al-Jazeera reports that Ukrainian forces have taken one building back but that separatists there still hold one of the main buildings.

Overnight, Ukrainian security forces took back another Donetsk building belonging to the local branch of the federal security service, the SBU, while a man who is one of Ukraine’s richest, Rinat Akhmetov, tried to broker a compromise to end the standoff.

The standoff at the administration building has turned into a critical moment for the beleaguered government in Kyiv, which came to power in the aftermath of the violent “Maidan” protests that deposed former President Viktor Yanukovych later in February.

The article points out that many of the people involved in the protests are rank and file people in East Ukraine.
“We want to live separately, from the rest of Ukraine, like Scotland, but they’re not letting us,” said Valery Kerikov, a Donetsk miner dressed in camouflage who was overseeing a group of pro-Russian activists on the administration building balcony overlooking a crowd of at least 3,000. “Let us live apart from them. We’ll trade with them, we’ll get investment from them, we’ll work with them. But we’ll live on our own.”

“The government in Kyiv, they’ve told us for years: ‘You can’t have an opinion or express it. You just sit there quietly and do nothing and we’ll tell you what to do when,’” said Vadim Sinkov, another activist wearing a construction worker’s hat and carrying a rubber truncheon. “We have a different culture here, a different language. Why should we be hiding this fact? ... It’s a different mentality altogether here.”

As one reader in my last Ukraine diary pointed out, Eastern Ukraine has everything to lose if Ukraine joins the rest of Europe and casts aside ties with Russia. This is because there is no market for Eastern Ukrainian products in the EU, but a major market for them in Russia. This explains why Putin is calling for a federated Ukraine. While Russia's occupation of Crimea is a clear violation of their 1994 treaty with Ukraine, they stand to lose billions of dollars in economic revenues in the event of Ukraine joining Europe, meaning that they have a legitimate interest in Ukraine's future. Another problem that reader mentioned is that most of the people who are appointed to govern East Ukraine are from the West -- similar to if we had people from the Eastern Seaboard here in the US appointed to govern California. It is unlike the civil service system we have in this country; it is a patronage system, which gives government employees incentive to make decisions based on the wellbeing of the party in power instead of the common good.

John Kerry, speaking before a Senate committee, said:

It doesn’t have to be this way. But it will be this way if Russia continues down this provocative path. In my conversation yesterday with Foreign Minister Lavrov, we agreed to meet soon in Europe, next week, with Ukraine and our European partners to discuss de-escalation, demobilization, inclusivity, support for elections, and constitutional reform. And it is not, in our judgment, a small matter that Russia has agreed to sit in this four-party status with Ukraine at the table in an effort to try to forge a road ahead. Between now and then, we have made it clear that Russia needs to take concrete steps to disavow separatist actions in eastern Ukraine, pull back its forces outside the country, which they say they have begun to do with the movement of one battalion, and demonstrate that they are prepared to come to these discussions to do what is necessary to de-escalate.

So Russia has a choice: to work with the international community to help build an independent Ukraine that could be a bridge between the East and West – not the object of a tug of war – that could meet the hopes and aspirations of all Ukrainians, or they could face greater isolation and pay the cost for their failure to see that the world is not a zero-sum game.

Ukraine and so many other ongoing simultaneous challenges globally reinforce what I said a moment ago to all of you. I think the members of this committee have long appreciated it. That is that - this is not the bipolar, straightforward choice of the Cold War. We’re living in an incredibly challenging time where some of the things that the East-West order took for granted most of my life are suddenly finding a world in which American engagement is more critical. And in many ways it’s more complicated because of nation-state interests, balance of power, are the kinds of issues that are on the table.

But as Kerry himself notes in his speech, Russia is still acting like a diplomatic solution is possible. Russia has already agreed to a conference between the US, the EU, Russia, and Ukraine that could help resolve this crisis. Russia is demanding that the West fulfill all agreements that have previously been signed.
Lavrov also said that Moscow urged the west to fulfill all the agreements on the situation in Ukraine, including that of February 21 on settling the crisis, which was signed by Yanukovich and opposition leaders, including Yatsenyuk and Vladimir Klitschko, on ending the political crisis in the country. The agreement was witnessed by EU foreign ministers from Germany and Poland.

“After the coup d’état in Ukraine, we called on the Kiev authorities to return to the agreement of February 21, but our calls were disregarded,” Lavrov said. “Now we are told that this agreement is long in the past.”

Lavrov said this was “unfair politics.”

“We want our partners to fulfill all the agreements, including carrying out constitutional reform which respects all the regions,” he said.

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