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The situation in Eastern Ukraine is deteriorating. Security forces from the interim government in Kiev have been sent in in an effort to dislodge the pro-Russian protesters who are occupying government buildings in several cities. There have been armed clashes that have resulted in deaths on both sides.

The Associated Press is expressing some skepticism of the claims of the Ukrainian Interior Minister.

Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia in an eastern city Sunday, according to the interior minister, who said one Ukrainian security officer was killed and five others were wounded. It was the first reported gunbattle in east Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia men have seized a number of law enforcement buildings in recent days.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post that a Security Service officer was killed in Slovyansk, where the police station and local Security Service office were seized a day earlier by camouflaged armed men. He also reported an unclear number of casualties among the militia.

An Associated Press reporter on the ground didn't see any sign of violence when he arrived Sunday.

Unrest has spread to several municipalities in eastern Ukraine, including the major industrial city of Donetsk, which has a large Russian-speaking population.

John Kerry has issued another one of his stern warnings to Russia and VP Biden is on his way to Kiev.
"Militants were equipped with specialised Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences."
The really important question here is just how much of the protest activity in Eastern Ukrainian cities is being conducted by troops brought in from Russia and how much real support does it have from local Ukrainian residents. It does seem beyond reasonable doubt that Russia is encouraging and supporting the protest. However, there are also definite indications that there is real local support.

East Ukraine protesters joined by miners on the barricades

Word spread quickly through the few hundred pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine: "The miners are coming!"

The crowd parted as a group of a dozen or so burly men in orange work helmets marched past barbed-wire and tyre barricades into the 11-storey administration building, which protesters seized last weekend as they demanded greater independence from Kiev.

"Glory to the miners!" the crowd began chanting. "Glory to Donbass!" they shouted, much as protesters at Kiev's Euromaidan demonstrations had shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" before they ousted the president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February.

Back at the Donetsk occupation, the hundreds of supporters who have gathered each day are a small number of the city's nearly one million residents. But if the 100,000-plus employees of coalmining enterprises were to rise en masse, that would change the political picture drastically, in a similar fashion to the Donbass miners' strikes that helped bring about the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"It's hard to arouse the miners, but when you do, there will be trouble," said Artyom, a former miner who was guarding the administration building on Friday night. "If the miners all rise up, it will be an economic, physical and moral blow. It will be hard for everyone."

A plausible reading of the on the ground reality in Eastern Ukraine is that both sides are competing for the hearts and minds of the general populace. The active pro-Russian support is likely a fairly small number of people. Most of the people are likely waiting to see how things develop. More armed intervention coming from Kiev could tip the scales and give rise to real civil war.

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Comment Preferences

  •  waiting to see (4+ / 0-)

    1.  If there are "snap referendums" announced.
    2.  If the Right Sektor starts mixing it up with the miners

  •  Exactly what I feared. There will be blood. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, TJ, mkor7, gzodik, mookins

    This is only the beginning. Want until all the IMF "economic reforms" hit. I thought it would take six months to get really ugly. I was wrong.

  •  adding fuel to the fire isn't helping (8+ / 0-)

      As even some politicians in the EU are looking to use this event for political fodder.   Pen of France is claiming that the EU is partially to blame.   While sitting here in the US and understanding that Ukraine joining the EU may be a terrible decision for the folks - it appears that politicians in Europe are willing use the Ukraine to make the EU more like Russia - in their far-right push.  

        Interestingly, some agitators appear to be playing the "my pee-pee is bigger than yours" - complaining that President Obama isn't sending in troops.... yesterday.  

        And then, just to complicate the picture is the marriage of Russian Oil with Exxon.  

         It's complicated is an understatement.

  •  When Svoboda Was Armed to the Teeth - (9+ / 0-)

    Calling the Donestsk militant "terrorists" is rather disingenuous.
    I have few illusions about Putin or his motives -
    But I recoil at U.S. support of a government with neo-Nazi elements.

  •  Protestors don't carry Kalashnikovs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    Or storm government buildings using those weapons.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:25:10 AM PDT

    •  There is not much question (5+ / 0-)

      that the weapons are coming from Russia. What is unclear is who the people carrying them are. They could be Russian troops or they could be local irregulars. There are groups of demonstrators out in the street in civilian clothing. Indications are that at least some of them are local.

      The question is not whether Russia is encouraging this activity. They pretty clearly are. The question is just how much support is there on the part of residents of the cities in Eastern Ukraine. There does appear to be some and the participation of the miners indicates that it could be growing.

      •  The weapons could be stolen Ukrainian arms (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, tardis10, wu ming

        From what I've seen of the weapons employed, they are a mix between AK47s(AKMs) and AK74s. Russia uses the AK74 type, whereas Ukrainian forces use both.  The AK74 is a more modern firearm based on the classic AKM design, but using a smaller caliber round.  

        Considering that ethnic Russians are minorities in every oblast in eastern Ukraine, I don't see a majority supporting these separatists.  So given that democratic methods and/or peaceful protests would do little to give them what they want as far as secession or independence, they have to use brute force.  

        "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

        by Texas Lefty on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:09:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My impression is that in most (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Involuntary Exile

          of the eastern oblasts the mix is about even. What is the source of your claim that they are a minority in every one?

          •  Ukrainian census (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            link

            Note the difference between ethnic Russian and Russian speaker. As you probably know, alot of ethnic Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine speak Russian as their first language.  

            "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

            by Texas Lefty on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:14:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Also, notice the decline in ethnic Russian pop. (0+ / 0-)

              If you look at the numbers from 1989-2001, ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine have shrunk in size over that time and that trend should be continuing to this day, making ethnic Russians even more of a minority in 2014.  

              "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

              by Texas Lefty on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:26:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Regardless of how they might (4+ / 0-)

              have been classified in a census conducted by a government with political biases, the practical issue here is where is their allegiance when it come to a fight. That remains to be seen.

               

            •  one of the problems with how we talk (6+ / 0-)

              about ukrainians and russians is that there are four overlapping categories of identity at play in ukraine:

              1. language. do they speak russian or ukrainian (or both, as is often the case)?

              2. ethnicity. do they consider themselves to be ukrainian people, or russian people?

              3. politics. do they think the country of ukraine should align itself politically with russia, with the EU, or exist as a neutral independent state dealing with both but allying with neither (like finland)?

              4. nationality. do they consider themselves (or aspire to be) citizens of the nation of ukraine, or of russia?

              when the media (or government speakers) say russian or ukrainian, they are very rarely dealing with the complexity of these nested identities in ukraine. many ukrainians, especially in eastern ukraine, will be russian in the sense of 1-3 (or some selection of them), but may not be interested in #4. to complicate it further, many families are mixed between russian and ukrainian, and so people might plausibly answer "yes, both" to 1 and 2.

              crimea is unusual for having had a large number of ethnic russian russophones who wanted to be russian citizens, long before the russian occupation and referendum. it amazed me that putin would have gopne to the trouble to rig an election that he would have won in a fair election, albeit with a lower margin of victory than 99%.

      •  It is not clear at all that Russia is directly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fran1, Sunspots, Involuntary Exile

        involved in supplying weapons. There is absolutely no political gain for Russia to have the Ukraine devolve into chaos. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the US.

        Here's a report from the anti-Russian CBC:

        Ukraine crisis: Canada imposes more sanctions to punish Russia

        Handguns, weapons seized

        At least 20 men armed with pistols and rifles took over the police and security services buildings in Slaviansk, a city of 120,000 about 150 kilometres from the border with Russia in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

        They wore St. George's ribbons, which have become a symbol of pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine. The ribbons were originally associated with the Soviet Union's victory in World War II.

        The militants allegedly seized at least 400 handguns and 40 automatic weapons from the police station and replaced the Ukrainian flag with the Russian flag before moving on to a security building in the same city.

        "The aim of the takeover was the guns," a police statement issued from the capital Kyiv said. "They are giving these guns to participants in the protest in Slaviansk."

        Don't forget that the Ukraine was divided during WWII with most fighting with the Russian army and a fairly large number aligned with the nazis. They were distributed geographically in the Ukraine just as we see today. There is lots of bad blood between the two groups.
        •  If you honestly believe that there is absolutely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amyzex

          no support coming from Russia for these demonstrations and building occupations, then I've got a bridge to sell ya. Your repeated claims to know what the intentions of Russia are are not plausible. I have no question that they are stirring the pot. I also have no idea how far they intend to go with and I don't think you do either.

          •  Do you think Russia is supplying weapons to the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Involuntary Exile

            pro-Russian protestors?

            Your repeated claims to know what the intentions of Russia are are not plausible. I have no question that they are stirring the pot.
            What do you base this on? You have some sort of inside information? Care to give a link?

            Eastern Ukraine has very long historical ties with Russia which is why the main language is Russian. Most of their trade is with Russia rather than with the eastern parts or the EU. There were no visa requirements to cross between the two countries.

            No stirring required. The pot has been simmering for decades. The real shit disturbers came from the west.

            This one map helps explain Ukraine’s protests
            ...
            No single datapoint could capture or explain all of that. But the map below comes perhaps as close as anything could. It shows Ukraine, color-coded by the country's major ethnic and linguistic divisions. Below, I explain why this map is so important and why it helps to tell Ukraine's story. The short version: Ukraine's politics have long been divided into two major factions by the country's demographics. What's happening right now is in many ways a product of that division, which has never really been reconciled.
            ...
            To see what I mean, check out these two maps that show the results of Ukraine's 2004 and 2010 presidential elections, both of which were very close. Yanukovych lost the 2004 vote (on the second round of voting, that is; the first round was annulled after protests over fraud allegations) by 52 to 44. But he won in 2010 by 49 to 45 percent. In both cases, you can see a clear and consistent regional divide. Maps of other presidential and parliamentary elections look very similar.
            •  If you want to believe that their hands (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amyzex, Dr Swig Mcjigger

              are totally clean and that they are utterly blameless in this situation then that is your choice. But in light of their actions in Crimea among other things that it is not a belief that many people in this world are prepared to join you in.

              There is much to criticize the US and other western countries for in this situation. But, trying to portray Russia as an innocent victim just doesn't fly. It is possible to have two bad guys in the same plot.

    •  Kalashnikovs - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Involuntary Exile

      Are the most widely available weapon in the world - -
      In Tijuana or in Tikrit - you can buy one cheap.

  •  The Ukranian government has to crackdown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    They've been ineffective, and virtually invisible, in the face of Russian opposition so far, and watched Crimea get annexed, because it was what the people there wanted. For the most part, the world collectively sighed, because there was no street to street violence.

    However, to prevent the Russians from annexing any more territory, the Ukrainians have to provide a show of force to show the Russians, and the rest of the world, that future land grabs won't be sanitized and surgical little operations.

    It ain't pretty, but that's geopolitics for you.

    This revolution is not scheduled!

    by harrylimelives on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:45:33 AM PDT

    •  That can of course backfire (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco

      if it stirs the ethnic Russians to fight back.

      •  I think that's going to happen anyway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex

        Both sides are itching for a bloodletting.

        The reality is, if Texas suddenly seceded from the Union tomorrow, the Democrats would have a permanent majority in the House and the Senate. I think Kiev is happy to see ethnic Russians go, because they can't vote anymore, so it helps them consolidate their grip on power.

        I'm of the opinion that Kiev knows that the Russians will probably annex more territory in the near term, so they're getting aggressive now to be able draw more favorable lines for themselves, and not lose natural resources they may want to keep.

        This revolution is not scheduled!

        by harrylimelives on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:11:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Crackdown how? With what troops? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      What proportion of Ukraine's army would remain loyal to the interim government, in a largely pro-Russian environment? Would they dare to use their new Right Sektor militias?

    •  Russia is NOT going to annex eastern Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

      There is absolutely no geopolitical advantage in doing so.

      The best scenario is for Europe and Russia to work together with the Ukraine - something the US dominated west and the putsch government in Kiev so far refuse to do despite overtures by Putin. Kiev seems more flexible at this point so this may explain why Biden and the CIA are visiting (to stiffen Yats backbone).

      •  Or "intimidated" or "incompetent" or "subverted" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex


        Lord knows we saw plenty of incompetence or intimidation in southern Nevada this weekend when a gathering of militias drove away the Federal government.  

        Ukraine had a terrible choice to make in late February:  to fire the Berkut or to not fire them.  To not fire them would be seen as an injustice of the type we see all too often in the United States after cops beat protestors.  So Ukraine fired them.  

        Unfortunately, a bunch of unemployed men with keys to the armory are never good for stability.  Chiang Kai-Shek found out when he demobilized his army after WWII.  The United States found this out when it dismissed Iraq's army.  

        For some reason, it's very hard to imagine a mere 20 special operations officers able to take over the central HQ of a police organization "serving" cities of 100,000+.  They had to have help from the inside.  Cops may have been afraid of getting the Berkut treatment from Kiev, or they may have wanted new bosses who looked the other way as they took bribes or roughed up suspects.  

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:30:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  To a large degree it's about money. (8+ / 0-)

    The EU and the US only might fork over some money, but only if Ukraine dances to their tunes.

    The economy of Ukraine is rapidly swirling down the sewer and life is getting harder every day for the people there. And, the harsh winter is only about 5 months away. If conditions are getting worse now, in the spring, imagine how they will be this winter.

    I think there is and will continue to be a growing desire in Ukraine to return to the way it was before - in the Russian sphere - because they know that even though life wasn't great it was probably better than what will happen this winter.

    Will those lofty EU, US, and IMF promises of a bright future (after a long period of suposedly beneficial 'belt-tightening') heat the homes of the people of Ukraine or keep them from going hungry this winter?

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:45:44 AM PDT

  •  I am very afraid. (7+ / 0-)

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, we (NATO) have been systematically biting off pieces of Russia's former empire, turning former allies of Russia into their potential enemies, in order to isolate Russia, all the while denying that was what we were doing.

    Americans generally have no understanding of Russians, having only a kneejerk opinion of them as a threat, thus we demand ever more "strength" (belligerence) from our politicians. The only result of our "strength" is to embolden Russian ultranationalists, our (and the Russian people's) real enemies. We are making a bitter enemy of a country capable of turning America into a lifeless radioactive desert.

    All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. --Edgar Allan Poe

    by gzodik on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:53:51 AM PDT

    •  Most of the countries that were (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, exlrrp, native, poco, gzodik, wu ming, Tony Situ

      part of the Warsaw Pact but not part of the USSR were for the most part not willing allies of the USSR. As soon as it fell apart they were actively seeking protection from NATO and eventual EU membership. Where the problems have gotten messy is with the former constituent republics of the USSR such as Ukraine where there were a lot of remaining economic and cultural ties to Russia.

    •  Not to Mention - (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exlrrp, gzodik, Claudius Bombarnac

      That in many of those "former" pieces -
      Russian expatriates are denied basic citizenship rights.

      Latvia is probably the most extreme example.
      Even though Riga has been Russian since 1710 - -
      (That's 66 years before 1776, by the way.)
      Ethnic Russians were denied citizenship when Latvia declared independence.

      Even today, roughly half of ethnic Russians in Latvia lack citizenship rights.
      Is there an outcry by the U.S. or the E.U.?  Nope.
      Heck, the E.U. and NATO both expand to include Latvia.

      I wonder how Americans in Chicago and Dallas would respond
      if Canada annexed Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
      Then denied basic rights to all Americans without Canadian heritage.

      I think the answer is pretty obvious.

      •  Citizenship in Europe is different than here (0+ / 0-)

        Jus Soli vs Jus Sanguinis

        In Germany for example, Turkish people are not considered German citizens even if they and their parents were born in Germany.  

        "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

        by Texas Lefty on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 08:22:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those old Nuremburg Laws are long gone (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Lyon, wu ming, johnnygunn, gzodik

          Only Canada and the US have unconditional jus soli right to citizenship (i.e a tourist gives birth while visiting). All other countries are a mix.

          German nationality law

          German citizenship is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis. In other words one usually acquires German citizenship if a parent is a German citizen, irrespective of place of birth.[1]

          A significant reform to the nationality law was passed by the Bundestag (the German parliament) in 1999, and came into force on 1 January 2000. The new law makes it somewhat easier for foreigners resident in Germany on a long-term basis, and especially their German-born children, to acquire German citizenship.[2]

          Turkish people are not considered German citizens even if they and their parents were born in Germany.  
          Children born to foreigners (including Turkey), with at least one parent having a permanent resident permit and have been in the country for 8 years, are automatically a German citizen until 21 at which time they must apply to retain it permanently. Turkish people are, by far, the largest group of foreigners who have obtained German citizenship by naturalization. Over ten times as many as other foreigners.
      •  The reason for that is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yamaneko2, DeeDee001

        is that the great bulk of ethnic Russians in these countries were colonists settled there by Stalin in the late 1940s.  The native people regard their policies as decolonization.

        •  Where did you get that information? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ

          Ever heard of Peter the Great or Catherine the Great?

        •  Oh, Pjease! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gzodik, Claudius Bombarnac

          You don't have a friggin' clue.

          Riga was captured by Peter the Great from the Swedes in 1710.
          That is an entire lifetime prior to 1776.

          New Russia / Southern Ukraine was largely depopulated due to slave raids by Crimeans and a dozen wars between Russia and the Ottomans in the 1700s. Much like Indian Removal in the U.S., remaining nomadic tribes were expelled and the region settled by a mix of Russians, Ukrainians, and Germans - - but under the Russian Empire.

          You are clueless about ethnicity in Eastern Europe.

    •  Maybe NATO is not an imperial (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ, amyzex

      scheme.  Maybe that's just you and Russian propaganda.

      The people who most inform the decisions in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, London, and DC are elites.  Most of whom grew up and entered their professions during the Cold War and have been to Russia since, and are (in my experience) mostly very intelligent people.  Consider the possibility that they may be wiser than yourself in the long term.

      If you consider seriously what it takes to carve down a backwards empire in the present day, you'll end up at a scheme that looks like NATO/EU and the series of nationalist uprisings and kleptocracy/secret police state collapses that we've seen for 25 years in eastern Europe.

      Like many people, you're unable to come up with a legitimation for Russian imperialism.  Instead, we're asked to respect people who might nuke us when their insanity level gets high enough.  And you suggest no way to defuse these peoples' animus, perhaps because they don't actually care whether our gestures are nasty or nice- losing portions of their empire is enough to rouse them to hatred and a willingness to engage in violence.  So maybe there is no way for us to appease them at all other than let them have what is not theirs, and even that will not let them make peace with us.

      Consider the endgame.  Moldova went over the EU's side in 2011.  Western Ukraine, if not more of it, this year.  Belarus is nearing bankrupcy and at least 40% of its people want to go over to the EU as well already- in the next five to ten years there may well be a Belarusian Maidan.  In 2020 Moscow may well be looking at EU/NATO aspirants and affiliates along all of its western border, from the Arctic to the Black Seas.  And the attitude it will face from Brussels is 'you know, our planning number for when you give up your antagonism and decide to join us rather than try to beat us is 2045.'

  •  Ukrainians concerned with IMF reforms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fran1

    Backlash is continuing against Yatsenyuk's IMF policies. This may be why he is now considering giving the eastern regions more powers. He is still rejecting a federal system for the country which is what the protestors are demanding.

    [English subtitles]
     

  •  Getting even more complicated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Claudius Bombarnac

    Russian Media Report CIA Director Held 'Secret Consultations' in Kiev | News | The Moscow Times

    Russian news agencies reported Sunday that U.S. CIA director John Brennan had a secret meeting with Ukrainian officials in Kiev before they began operations against separatist forces that had taken over buildings in the country's east.

    Brennan landed in Ukraine on Saturday under an assumed name and held a "series of secret meetings" with the country's "power bloc" Interfax reported, citing an unidentified official in the Ukrainian parliament. The unidentified official said that there were "unconfirmed reports" that the U.S. security official was behind the decision to use force in eastern Ukraine after pro-Russian separatist forces took control of the city of Slovyansk.

    Ukrainian parliament Communist Party deputy Vladimir Golub told RIA Novosti that lawmakers were talking about the visit openly and opined that the Ukrainian Security Service had become a unit of the CIA.

    I don't know how relayabnle this source is - but I found out it is Dutch owned and not Russian.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 11:28:10 AM PDT

    •  Even if so, what of it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex

      First, I trust "Russian media" as much as I trust Fox News, but is there something illegal about US official meeting with Ukrainian officials?

    •  The Moscow Times is quoting Russian sources (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex

      The information given is from pro-Kremlin sources, relayed to the reader by the Moscow Times.  This does not mean it's partly or wholly false.  

      Given the relentless criticism that the CIA received for allegedly not passing on what it knew to the Ukrainian government, it was probably high time that the CIA provided a briefing, or was at least seen to have provided a briefing.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking beneath the masks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, fran1, amyzex

    One of the things that baffles me about the entire situation in Ukraine -- from the beginning -- is the apparent difficulty in sorting who is behind all the masks. Who were actually out in the streets of Kiev, far-right-wing "nationalist" (= nazi) storm-troops or ordinary citizens wanting freedom and democracy? Who were the snipers who gunned down the street protestors -- and police, including pro-Russian police -- in Kiev? Who were the armed thugs who took over Ukraine naval installations in Crimea? (Putin says they're not Russian troops, they're locals; the locals say they're Russian; who knows?) Who are the armed thugs who are (apparently) taking over buildings in eastern Ukraine? Which photos are photoshopped or are actually of other places at other times? What is real, what is smoke and mirrors, who is wearing what masks?

    Add in the discrepancies between reports (violent takeovers of buildings, tens of thousands of Russian troops and tanks on the move) and observations by some Western reporters (all quiet, no sign of violent confrontation or movement).

    I have no idea what is actually happening there, much less who is doing it, much less what it all means.

    That makes me extremely skeptical of Kerry or any other US official going in to try to fix anything, or even weigh in on it.

  •  doubl-standard (3+ / 0-)

    M of A - Ukraine: EU Ashton Who Then Called For "Dialog", Now Calls For "Authority Of The State"

    Ashtonthen:

    “I call upon president Yanukovych, the government together with the leaders of the opposition to find an immediate way out of this deepening crisis, and to continue the work to find a way to solve the political crisis through dialogue,” said Ashton.

    Ashtonnow:

    "The EU commends the Ukrainian authorities for pursuing their law and order operations in a measured way, in order to establish the authority of the state."

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 11:34:34 AM PDT

  •  The Ukrainian conflict is based on socioeconomic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fran1

    disparity. But this is not something the ruling elite want to dwell on. They will re-brand any anti-Kiev sentiments as pro-Russia.

    Putin understands the situation in the Ukraine.

    Vladimir Putin, economist?
    ...
    1. Putin contends that a Ukrainian deal with the west would leave Ukraine "an agricultural appendage" to the European Union, exporting wheat and other crops. He says Ukrainian industry needs Russia:
    ...
    2. Putin has also said the conditions and economic reforms attached to the approximately $15 billion International Monetary Fund program under negotiation were too onerous. He says they would force many Ukrainian businesses to shut down without providing enough capital for a complete overhaul.
    ...
    3. A back door? Putin also argued at a Jan. 28 news conference that if Ukraine signed accords giving it associate status in the EU then it would become a "back door" for European companies seeking tariff-free access to the Russian market.
    ...
    4. Putin says that inequality and low living standards are reasons for the crisis in Ukraine.
    ...
    At one point, Putin did sum up the situation. He said that political deadlock was hurting the well-being of ordinary people:

        "You know, we have an expression: When the nobles fight, the servants suffer."

  •  On their "Donetsk People's Republic" page (0+ / 0-)

    Wikipedia states the miners' union does not support the uprising.  So probably the miners who turned up do not represent a majority of miners in the region.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:00:29 AM PDT

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