Ukrainian security forces are entering the city of Slavyansk in the eastern Ukraine according to reports from both RT and the Associated Press. Protesters in that city seized several municipal buildings including police headquarters to protest government policies. The move came after the Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk issued a demand that citizens cease the occupation of public buildings across the eastern Ukraine. (Image)
The Ukraine's Alfa counter-terrorism group refused the PMs orders to disperse demonstrators saying: "We will act strictly according to law. Our group has been set up to free hostages and combat terrorism."
While the makeup of Ukrainian forces present in Slavyansk is not clear, their mission is to reclaim the police and other pubic buildings from protesters. (One report claims that several hundred mercenaries from a United States private security firm are near Slavyansk.)
Atmosphere if fear in the East
The eastern Ukraine is the nation's industrial center. Over 60% of citizens are Russian speaking. There is widespread concern about the Kiev government's plan to integrate with the European Union (EU) and shun Russian trade organizations. Russia is a key customer for the industrial output of the east. This is an established market, not one the industries could replicate within the EU.
In addition to a looming economic collapse, citizens in the east, particularly the majority that supports good relations with Russia, are likely upset by the nature of the revolt in Kiev that ended the elected government of former President Viktor Yanukovych.
Before the president was removed from power, violent demonstrations went on for weeks. Tactics included protestor occupation of numerous government buildings in the capital, Kiev. Leadership of the demonstrators included extremist right wing groups. Even Time Magazine noted that Right-Wing Thugs Are Hijacking Ukraine's Liberal Uprising. Much of the rhetoric was anti Russian. On March 2, Andrew Kreig reported:
"The Ukraine's new deputy national security director has urged that Russia's most feared terrorist take action against Russia.
"In a shocking statement largely ignored by the Western media, Dmitry Yarosh asked the fugitive Doku Umarov March 1 to take advantage of the unique chance to win [in Chechnya] arising from disturbances in the Ukraine. Andrew Kreig, Mar 2
Umarov was killed a few weeks later, reportedly as part of an effort by Russian security forces.
Threats to Russians reached an even higher level in the new Ukrainian power structure. Former Prime Minister, oligarch, and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko made the following threats after the citizens in Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation,
This is really beyond all boundaries. It's about time we grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians together with their leader," Tymoshenko said.- Advertisement -
The ex-PM declared if she was in charge there would be no f***ing way that they would get Crimea then. RT, Mar 25
Aside from the threats of violence, there is a long list of human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. - EU backed government that seized power in the Ukraine. These incidents and the death threats the current power structure contribute to the anti regime protests in the east.
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed strong concern that attacks by armed militants in eastern Ukraine have been orchestrated and synchronized, and are similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea." Associated Press, Apr 12