Odessa Atrocity Erupts in Peaceful City, And No One Wonders Why?
Kiev Supporters Burn Opponents Alive in Odessa,
Police Do Nothing
TRADE UNIONS HOUSE, ODESSA, MAY 2, 2014 by [99getsmart.com]
By William Boardman
The acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov told regional governors on May 1 that the Kiev interim government was "helpless" to re-establish central government control in eastern Ukraine, where anti-Kiev forces (pro-independence and/or pro-Russian) have taken control of numerous cities in a manner imitating the way the Kiev government itself seized power in February.
"I will be frank. Today, security forces are unable to take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions quickly under control," Turchynov said at the May Day meeting. He reported that numerous Ukrainian military and security personnel had defected to the rebels, taking their arms with them. With Kiev's authority in doubt in much of eastern Ukraine, Turchynov said his government's plan was to try to slow pro-Russian gains by concentrating on the defense of Kharkiv in the northeast and Odessa in the southwest.
For months, Odessa (population about one million) had remained relatively peaceful despite turmoil in other parts of the country. Odessa was more disturbed by speculation than active demonstrations. The April 16 declaration of the "Odessa People's Republic" turned out to be a hoax and European monitors reported that the city remained calm. On April 23 in Odessa, people from various sides, including supporters of Euromaidan (pro-Kiev) and supporters of Antimaidan (pro-Russian culturally, but not always pro-separatist), agreed that the greatest threat to Ukraine was from abroad. They reportedly worked together to establish checkpoints around Odessa to defend against pro-Russian provocateurs.
The day after acting president Turchynov spoke of being "helpless," the Kiev government launched its largest military operation to date in eastern Ukraine, an action that is still causing casualties on both sides, as the fighting continues at a low intensity.
On the same day, May 2, Odessa suffered more civilian deaths than any place in Ukraine since some 70 people died in Kiev in February, in the course of the bloody coup that brought the present government to power.
What happened in Odessa on May 2 remains somewhat murky
According to RT (Russian Television in English) in a late report that day, the events of May 2 started quietly and ended with violence and bloodshed (that has since been widely confirmed, although precise numbers remain uncertain):
"39 anti-government activists have died in a fire at Odessa's Trade Unions House. Some burned to death, while others suffocated or jumped out of windows, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. The building was set ablaze by pro-Kiev radicals."
Earlier on May 2, around 2 p.m., some 1,500 pro-Kiev demonstrators gathered for a peaceful assembly in support of national unity, according to Agence France-Presse: at some point, "hundreds of pro-Russian militants swinging batons and wearing helmets on Friday attacked [the] rally". Police intervened to try to break up the violence, which left dozens wounded on both sides."
Where AFP saw an attack, RT saw a collision:
"A pro-unity demonstration, which included nationalists and football fans, ran into a rally preaching greater autonomy for the regions. Gunfire was heard" as two rival rallies met, police having failed to draw them apart. Over 2,000 protesters pelted each other with Molotov cocktails and smoke grenades. Pavements were dismantled to get the stones for the fight, like it was done in Kiev during the Maidan protests. Local police reported that four people were killed in the stand-off, and at least one of them died due to a gun-shot wound. At least 37 received injuries in clashes".
"Some of the people in the group were wearing the ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement insignia. They were also armed with chains and bats and carried shields, as an Itar-Tass correspondent on the ground reported. The group tried to march through the city, chanting 'Glory to Ukraine,' 'Death to enemies,' 'Knife the Moskals [derogatory for Russians]'"."