Summary of Armed Confrontations in East Ukraine
The online Kievan newspaper “Delo” is calling this “The First Day of the Russian Intevention in East Ukraine.” The paper reports from E. Ukraine –
(1) In Slaviansk a small number of men the Ukrainians identify as Russian special forces storm a police station with gunfire. They call themselves “narodnoe opolchenie” … a loaded term meaning “people’s militia”, used in WWII. Russians are presenting this as an existential crisis on the order of the “Great Patriotic War” by labeling the Ukrainians as fascist oppressors of the Russians in the east.
(2) In Donetsk at 6 a.m. a group of about 40 Russian “activists” in masks seized the prosecutor’s office. They abandoned it at 7:30. Later in the morning about one thousand people protested before the HQ of the Donetsk Region Ministry of the Interior (which controls the police) and eventually a smaller group seized it. They have not left. The head of the regional Min Interior resigned. The “activists” demand the return of the man who was previous chief.
(3)In Kramatagorsk a group of “activists” seized the regional (raion) police HQ after a firefight. Police fled the station after expending all of their ammunition. About one thousand pro-Russian demonstrators are surrounding the building and have proclaimed the “Donetsk People’s Republic.” They claim they will issue an “ultimatum” to loyal Ukrainian city government and demand a reply by Monday. The armed activists are also calling themselves the “people’s militia”.
(4) An attack on the Donetsk Chemical Factory was beaten off by police.
(5) Krasnyi Liman – about 20 armed activists attempted to seize a police station but were arrested after local residents came to the aid of the police. Russian AK-100 automatic rifles were confiscated from the attackers.
(6) In Artemovsk a group of activists calling themselves “people’s militia of the Donetsk Republic” entered a police station but left after “negotiations.” They proceeded to the central square where they raised the flag of the “Donetsk Republic” and declared independence.
(7) In Gorlovka police blocked an attempt by activists to seize the central police offices.
The number of demonstrators and activists involved is small, suggesting that this is not a mass movement, but something organized by small local groups, almost certainly coordinated with and involving Russian military intelligence. The Russians are, as Karl Rove said about his own neo-con movement, “creating their own reality”, setting the scene for intervention.