Many East Ukrainian Police Not Resisting “Activists” – Is Ukrainian Military Action Imminent?
According to Dmitry Tymchuk, a former Ukrainian military officer with unofficial ties to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior and Ukrainian intelligence, many police in Donetsk and other cities where Russian “activists” are seizing buildings are taking a passive attitude or even cooperating with the pro-Russian groups. This is not the news Tymchuk would be happy reporting, and given that and the fact that NPR’s Ari Shapiro confirms it, it is probably true.
Any operation involving regular Ukrainian military units (and the Kiev government claims that they will begin an “anti-terrorist operation” at 6:00 am GMT [2:00 a.m. EST) if the pro-Russian groups do not lay down their arms) will face “human shields” of old ladies and children who are standing on and around the barricades, as well as probable urban street-fighting. This is not a good scenario and will make them look like murderers of civilians and oppressors of the local Russian population. Exactly the place Putin wants them.
Yet the Ukrainian leaders are in an impossible position. To accede to a Russian takeover of E. Ukraine or even federalization of the eastern provinces under Russian pressure is to accept semi-colonial status w/r/t Russia. I don’t see that they have any exit. Putin has already won. My guess is that Western leaders are at this very moment trying to get the Ukrainians to call off the “anti-terrorist operation” — if it is even in train . Then they’ll try harsher sanctions, which frankly I don’t think Putin gives a crap about. Russia has been through far worse than whatever economic pain the West can impose on her.