Ukraine unrest

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Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:18 pm

Things seem to be going west (metaphorically, if not politically) at some speed in the Ukraine at the moment. Here's a thread for all things Ukraine-related.

Here's the Wikipedia page for some deep background:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Of note:
Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital and largest city, and Sevastopol, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine continues to maintain the second-largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians (17%), Belarusians and Romanians. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine; its alphabet is Cyrillic. Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.
and:
Ukraine has long been a world breadbasket due to its fertile conditions. The country, as of 2011, was the world's third-largest grain exporter.
From elsewhere in DICE:
absinthe beginner wrote:Ukraine credit rating downgraded. Ratings agency fears steep and uncontrolled depreciation of the currency as central bank limits private transfers abroad of around $5,700 a month.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/f ... cal-crisis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ukraine's economic woes deepened on Friday after Fitch downgraded its credit rating and the central bank imposed new capital controls to bolster the hryvnia. The ratings agency cited the ongong political instability and fears over its debt repayment schedule as it downgraded the country from "B-" to "CCC". Fitch added that "political uncertainty has contributed to a weakening in confidence in the Ukrainian hryvnia and in the exchange rate policy".

Ukraine is struggling to prop up its currency amid a political crisis that has seen anti-government demonstrators take to the streets to protest against a move closer to Moscow's economic orbit, and a debt crisis that has left it on the verge of bankruptcy.

Russia suspended a $15bn (£9.18bn) bailout last week after President Viktor Yanukovich, in a concession to protesters, sacked the pro-Russian prime minister.

Moscow says it will only restart the funding once it knows who will be the new prime minister. Yanukovich was due to meet President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics open on Friday night.

The central bank says the currency controls will be temporary. The controls, announced late on Thursday and imposed from Friday morning, include a limit on private transfers abroad of around $5,700 a month or 50,000 hryvnia and bans on purchases of foreign currency for overseas investment or early repayment of loans.

"The central bank has effectively imposed capital controls. The result will be a flourishing black market (in dollars)," said Tatiana Orlova, an emerging markets strategist at RBS in London.
And:
absinthe beginner wrote:Unrest flares up again in Kiev, Ukraine, as both the Russian Ruble and Ukrainian Hryvnia hit new lows against the dollar.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ashes.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/Currency/USDRUB" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/Currency/USDUAH" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-1 ... -drop.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
So that sets the scene. On to recent news.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:29 pm

Today's news.

Ukraine unrest: At least 21 protesters dead in clashes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26268620" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
At least 21 protesters have been killed by security forces in Kiev following the breakdown of a truce agreed on Wednesday. Witnesses have told the BBC that some died as a result of single gunshot wounds, typical of sniper fire.

Officials said that one policeman had died and that 67 police had been captured by protesters. Meanwhile, three European Union foreign ministers have held five hours of talks with President Viktor Yanukovych.

For its part, the White House said it was "outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people" and said the crisis "should be resolved by political means".
Ukraine unrest: EU sanctions imposed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26280710" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
European Union foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials "responsible for violence and excessive force". Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that asset freezes and travel bans would be adopted "as a matter of urgency".

At least 21 anti-government protesters died in clashes in Kiev on Thursday. Officials said that one policeman had also died and that 67 police had been captured by protesters.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the "prime responsibility" to get talks between the two sides under way lay with President Viktor Yanukovych. Speaking after an emergency meeting of EU foreign minsters in Brussels, she said ministers had expressed their "dismay" at the latest violence and had agreed to "suspend export licences for equipment for internal repression".

Implementation of the measures "will be taken forward in light of developments in Ukraine", she added. The EU has until now refrained from imposing sanctions on Ukraine, preferring to emphasise dialogue and compromise.

The US state department had already announced visa bans on 20 members of the Ukrainian government but has not provided any names.
Here's a slightly biased article with an overview of recent months' developments.

Why is Ukraine in turmoil?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25182823" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There's a graphic part-way down that article that compares political affiliations with the native language of the voters. Simplistically, the eastern half of the country speaks Russian natively and leans toward the East; the western half speaks Ukrainain and leans towards the West. (Don't forget that much of western Ukraine was part of Poland until 1940.)
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:36 pm

My big fear (and I'm not sure how likely it is to come to pass) is that Ukraine will splinter into two or more states but following the Yugoslavian pattern rather than the Czechoslovakian one. You'll then have a nasty civil war on the borders of Russia and the EU between factions that favour one or the other.

If I was re-timelining Twilight:2000 today this might be my starting scenario ...
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Boondock » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:51 pm

sheddi wrote:If I was re-timelining Twilight:2000 today this might be my starting scenario ...
Ah, T:2000. A favorite from my youth. :D
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:03 pm

Here's a collection of opinions from Ukrainians. Treat these as qualitative rather than quantitative; they've been chosen by a western news organisation and I've no way of knowing how many Ukrainians think similarly.

Kiev crisis: Ukrainian voices
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26260681" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ukrainian police and anti-government protesters in Kiev are involved in bloody clashes at the protest camp on Independence Square.

The death toll has risen as a result of the confrontations, with loss of life among police officers and protesters in the capital.

With tensions still high and the city unstable, Ukrainians provide their thoughts on the crisis.
The article's too long to quote effectively, but you'll find it at the link.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:06 pm

sheddi wrote:
absinthe beginner wrote:Ukraine credit rating downgraded. Ratings agency fears steep and uncontrolled depreciation of the currency as central bank limits private transfers abroad of around $5,700 a month.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/f ... cal-crisis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ukraine's economic woes deepened on Friday after Fitch downgraded its credit rating and the central bank imposed new capital controls to bolster the hryvnia. The ratings agency cited the ongong political instability and fears over its debt repayment schedule as it downgraded the country from "B-" to "CCC". Fitch added that "political uncertainty has contributed to a weakening in confidence in the Ukrainian hryvnia and in the exchange rate policy".

Ukraine is struggling to prop up its currency amid a political crisis that has seen anti-government demonstrators take to the streets to protest against a move closer to Moscow's economic orbit, and a debt crisis that has left it on the verge of bankruptcy.

Russia suspended a $15bn (£9.18bn) bailout last week after President Viktor Yanukovich, in a concession to protesters, sacked the pro-Russian prime minister.

Moscow says it will only restart the funding once it knows who will be the new prime minister. Yanukovich was due to meet President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics open on Friday night.

The central bank says the currency controls will be temporary. The controls, announced late on Thursday and imposed from Friday morning, include a limit on private transfers abroad of around $5,700 a month or 50,000 hryvnia and bans on purchases of foreign currency for overseas investment or early repayment of loans.

"The central bank has effectively imposed capital controls. The result will be a flourishing black market (in dollars)," said Tatiana Orlova, an emerging markets strategist at RBS in London.
And:
absinthe beginner wrote:Unrest flares up again in Kiev, Ukraine, as both the Russian Ruble and Ukrainian Hryvnia hit new lows against the dollar.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ashes.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/Currency/USDRUB" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/Currency/USDUAH" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-1 ... -drop.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
So that sets the scene. On to recent news.
I would argue the gentleman has it backwards, as the unrest has been constant (waxing and waning) and that the financial issues are related more to the already existing unrest and the mess that caused it.
sheddi wrote:Why is Ukraine in turmoil?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25182823" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There's a graphic part-way down that article that compares political affiliations with the native language of the voters. Simplistically, the eastern half of the country speaks Russian natively and leans toward the East; the western half speaks Ukrainain and leans towards the West. (Don't forget that much of western Ukraine was part of Poland until 1940.)
That's part of it, but it runs deeper. There is absolutely a lot of Russian vs Ukranian, the distrust that comes with that is as old as Stalin but was pretty well reinforced. Many Ukrainians are young enough to remember life under the USSR, and the rest were raised by those who lived under it. Those people see allying with the RF as a step back toward that and a further "Russianization" and loss of culture. There's also been not infrequent political scandals, always centered around politicians who favor joining the Russian trade org. What kicked off this round of protests is the echo of the Orange Revolution.

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yulia_Tymoshenko

Mainly because I love Yulia and her trademark "halo" braid. Her imprisonment was seen by many as the first domino, and each scandal following was just one more kick in the balls to the Ukrainian people.

I don't know and am no expert, but I don't believe Ukraine is neatly bisected enough to splinter, and everyone regardless of their affiliation wants to keep the Crimea, their Black Sea ports, and Kiev. Far more likely that we'd see a civil war, IMO, rather than a Czech/Slovak split.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:08 pm

Here's an opinion piece from The Independent drawing comparisons between the Ukraine and Yugoslavia. I didn't go looking for it specifically; it's the second article for Ukraine listed on The Indie's home page.

Beware - violence on the scale seen in Ukraine soon acquires unstoppable momentum
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/com ... 42393.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Shortly after the first bloodshed occurred in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1991 in a village in eastern Croatia, I asked a Croatian journalist to track down the names of the victims. Vesna Kesic was dubious of the point of the exercise. “Soon, there are going to be too many names for you to collect,” she told me laconically.

I was shocked. For me, as for most Western journalists, the thought of all-out war breaking out in what was still the most prosperous country in Eastern Europe was inconceivable. People would surely “see sense”, and “something would be done” – by the West, by the Russians, by the UN, or by somebody else.

As we know, that did not happen. The violence had a momentum of its own, and by late 1991, as the death toll climbed into the thousands, Kesic’s words came back to haunt me. Far too many names indeed.

As the death toll in Ukraine grows and as the prospect of a negotiated end to the crisis there recedes, the danger of Ukraine becoming the next Yugoslavia looks real. Catholics versus Orthodox, self-styled pro-Europeans versus others looking eastwards – several of the factors at work in the Yugoslav maelstrom are visible in Ukraine.
More at the link.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:32 pm

I'm struggling to find a postable link but there are reports of troops - possibly paratroops - being brought to Kiev by train. Given that this is Eastern Europe it's also possible they are Interior Ministry troops, which is fractionally less worrying.

Here's what RT has to say on the subject of today's events in Ukraine:

Ukraine bloodshed: Kiev death toll jumps to 75
http://rt.com/news/ukraine-kiev-death-toll-955/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
At least 75 people have been killed in violent riots in Kiev, the Ukrainian Health Department has stated. Doctors working on Kiev’s Independence Square, however, claimed that as many as 70 people were killed on the rioters’ side alone on Thursday.

The death toll in the most violent wave of clashes between the rioters and the police in Kiev is likely to increase, as there are conflicting figures coming from the Health Department, city officials and the opposition.

As many as 550 people have been injured, according to official estimates.

The surge in the number of victims comes as both armed rioters and the police are now using live ammunition in clashes. Many of the protesters and police officers killed or injured since Tuesday sustained gunshot wounds. Police have officially been allowed to use firearms in accordance with the law by an order of the Ukrainian Interior Minister.
And:
Until this week, snipers shooting people in central Kiev have been little more than unsupported hearsay. But on Thursday, both security forces and rioters were filmed stalking the streets with rifles.

RT’s crew narrowly avoided being shot by sniper fire while standing next to a window. RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky reported that unidentified snipers were firing from buildings all around Independence Square.

Correspondent Egor Piskunov and his camera crew were also caught in the crossfire as they tried to film Independence Square from the Hotel Ukraine. One of the bullets grazed the bulletproof vest of journalist Danil Asimov as he stood by the window on the 14th floor of the Kiev hotel.

Armed rioters then seized the hotel, using its windows to fire at police.
More at the RT link, including video like this:

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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:48 pm

I'm sure you're fed up with me posting here so this is the last one for now.

Here's a link to the Kyiv Post's website, an English-language and western-leaning Ukrainian news service. As you might imagine the unrest is the lead story (pretty much the only story). The site's rather slow at the moment; I'm guessing Ukraine's internet is busier than usual.

https://www.kyivpost.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by madwolf » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:13 pm

Here's a couple of links for recent news from people on the ground in Kiev:

http://www.reddit.com/r/ukraine

http://www.reddit.com/r/euromaidan
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by phalanx » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:54 pm

Here's a link to pictures from today. There are a few graphic youtube videos of protestors getting shot, being burned, and generally lending credence to the term "civil war."

http://trasyy.livejournal.com/1294622.html

Edit: Hopefully this works; it's a live video feed from Reuters of the main square where all this shit's going down:

http://bcove.me/t8w0zb0b
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by feedthedog » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:58 pm

I've got some ties to Ukraine, though my family is not from there.

I'm not sure if their military exists in the same way that an American, Brit, German, etc might be familiar with. Officer appointments seem to be purchased rather than earned, and I'm not sure that these folks do a whole lot of training either.... All to the point that the military is probably quite well armed but not very well organized.

I caught an NPR story on the way home claiming that some police officers may be defecting and joining the opposition. Hopefully this is an indicator that the cops and soldiers don't want to gun down unarmed civilians.

It's going to be very interesting to see how the EU reacts to this. What impression do our European members have?

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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by phalanx » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:56 pm

I've heard on reddit that there is quite a bit of speculation about who's "really" behind the rebels, and that it's some kind of neofacist-white suppremicist organization. I obviously can't disprove that, but the folks interviewed by western press sure sound like normal people:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/ ... 0-17-59-49
<snip from article>

But many ordinary people still came to the Maidan, to the front lines with police, bringing food, water and clothes to its exhausted defenders.

"Ukraine's fate is being decided here - whether we will become part of Europe or slide back," said Inga Leshchenko, a 67-year-old school teacher who brought homemade food to the protesters.

"Every Ukrainian should help the Maidan," she said. "I can help by making sandwiches and homemade pies."
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:41 pm

phalanx wrote:I've heard on reddit that there is quite a bit of speculation about who's "really" behind the rebels, and that it's some kind of neofacist-white suppremicist organization. I obviously can't disprove that, but the folks interviewed by western press sure sound like normal people:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/ ... 0-17-59-49
<snip from article>

But many ordinary people still came to the Maidan, to the front lines with police, bringing food, water and clothes to its exhausted defenders.

"Ukraine's fate is being decided here - whether we will become part of Europe or slide back," said Inga Leshchenko, a 67-year-old school teacher who brought homemade food to the protesters.

"Every Ukrainian should help the Maidan," she said. "I can help by making sandwiches and homemade pies."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(p ... and_racism

Not openly Nazi, Svoboda is the Ukrainian anti-communist and pro-nationalist party. There are certainly Nazis/facists/racists within the party, and one would be hard pressed to describe them as anything other than xenophobic. Rather than get in to the nitty-gritty, I suggest reading at least the section I linked. Parallels could be drawn to any number of prominent American and European political parties. They are, in my extremely limited understanding, a minority party, and their detractors have admitted that as they gain a foothold they are likely to become more moderate.

Keep in mind, though, that the arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko is at the core of much of this. Her party is larger (she served as prime minister and as Minister of Fuel and Energy, which as I understand would be akin to our Secretary of Energy in the US or Secretary of Energy and CLimate change in the UK, albeit with slightly different powers) and has much more sway. I would wager that the protestors sicne the beginning have been populated much more by members of her party than any other, though frontline reporting has shown everyone from babushkas with Yulia-adorned cookware helmets to SCA reenactors to university students, usually with either the Ukranian flag, Yulia's face or party, or in lesser numbers Svoboda's crest adorning them in some way.

I won't claim to be an expert. I spent two weeks in Kiev as in 2001, so all I have is a slight bit of firsthand knowledge of what things were like in the spring just after Ukraine Without Kuchma, and what I learned by reading. That said I read a lot.

Mods, please dickslap me if this gets too political and I'l remove this last section. A good analogue would be if One major party in the US was accused of some wrongdoing and their leader (also a presidential candidate) was imprisoned, amongst all sorts of other charges of corruption. It would not be unexpected for a mass protest to contain, in the US, members of the Libertarian, Tea, and likely the Communist party, all sporting their crests. Everyone who's pushing for change, unhappy with the system, and proud of their party would be there should there ever be something on this grand a scale. Keep in mind, the protest is believed to have included as many as 200,000 people, possibly more, or about 7% of the population of their largest city (the next largest city is half the population) and about 50,000 people larger than the standing Ukrainian military.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:42 am

A new day here in Europe and a new development.

Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych announces 'peace deal'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26284505" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ukraine's president says he has reached a deal with the opposition to end the crisis, after all-night talks mediated by EU foreign ministers. Viktor Yanukovych's website said the deal would be signed later, but the opposition has not confirmed the claim.

Protesters and police are still locked in a stand-off in Kiev, a day after dozens were killed in violent clashes.

On Thursday, EU foreign ministers said in a statement sanctions would be put on some officials over the violence. The US has warned Kiev that it would follow suit.

Thursday was the bloodiest day since the unrest began in November, with many of the anti-government protesters reportedly killed by police snipers. In all, 77 people - including policemen - have been killed since the violence first flared up on Tuesday, Ukraine's health ministry said. Another 577 were injured.

Protesters had captured 67 police, the interior ministry said. A number of them were later released.
I really hope they can step back from the abyss here.

Meanwhile the Kyiv Post looks back on the week:

Bloodlust - At least 75 killed in week of carnage
https://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukrain ... 37264.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Partial list of 75 people killed in Kyiv violence since Feb. 18
https://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukrain ... 37265.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:10 pm

A day at work behind me and things are looking up for Ukraine.

Ukrainian president and opposition sign early poll deal
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26289318" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have signed a deal to try to end the political crisis in the country. Under the agreement, a national unity government will be installed and a presidential poll will be held by the end of the year. The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, also sees electoral reform and constitutional changes.

Ukraine's parliament has voted to reduce the president's powers. It also approved laws which could see the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

The deal follows hours of talks and months of demonstrations on the streets of Kiev and other cities. Dozens of protesters were killed by security forces on Thursday.

The deal has been met with scepticism by some of the thousands of protesters who remain on Independence Square in Kiev, with some saying they still did not trust President Yanukovych.
Details of the deal:
- The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days
- Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September
- A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014, and new electoral laws will be passed
- An investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe
- The authorities will not impose a state of emergency and both the authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence
- Illegal weapons will be handed over to interior ministry bodies

The agreement was later signed by Mr Yanukovych and opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnibok at the presidential administration headquarters in Kiev.
For those of you wondering how the protests have been viewed outside the west, the BBC has a comparison of press coverage across Europe:

European, Russian press split on Ukraine events
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26290625" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From the "live updates" it appears that Ukraine got through a few senior military staff officers over the past days:
Col-Gen Volodymyr Zamana, who was dismissed as Chief of Ukraine's General Staff on Wednesday, tells 5 Kanal TV he resigned because he did not want to use the army against protesters in Kiev. (BBC Monitoring)
Ukraine's Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lt-Gen Yuriy Dumanskyy, says that he is resigning because the army "is being drawn into the civil conflict".

"My personal position as an officer and citizen is that this can lead to numerous fatalities among civilians and military personnel. Therefore, I have decided to tender my resignation in order to avoid further escalation and bloodshed among both sides." (5 Kanal TV/BBC Monitoring)
Finally for this post:

Polish minister warns protest leader 'you'll all be dead'
http://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-02-2 ... n-minister" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ITV News has filmed the Polish foreign minister warning a Ukranian protest leader: "If you don't support this [deal] you'll have martial law, you'll have the army. You will all be dead."
More reporting around this particular event at the link.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:44 pm

It's approaching bedtime here but I want to leave you with a couple of stories to ponder on.

Ukraine's western pro-European cities warn they could break away
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/f ... ities-lviv" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
While protests continue on the streets of central Kiev, the cities in the west of Ukraine are slipping towards autonomy with new parallel governments and security forces that have openly admitted they have deserted to the side of protesters. In Lviv, the heartland of Ukrainian nationalism, firearms have been stolen from local military bases and police are no longer to be seen on the streets.

Amid talk of civil war, few want to see any permanent division between the country's mainly Russian-speaking east and the more pro-European west, but many admit there is a risk it could happen.

"The parliament of Ukraine has to change the law and pass responsibilities for security into the hands of local elected authorities," said Lviv's mayor Andriy Sadovyi, who has emerged as one of the leading power brokers amid a brittle coalition of municipal and regional assemblies. "Those countries that have a high level of self-government and self-organisation are the most successful," he said.

Lviv has been providing money, personnel and materials for the rolling anti-government protests in Kiev since they broke out in November. Many have done a stint on the barricades. Thirteen people from Lviv have been killed since violence broke out this week, but injured people have been trickling back for weeks. "One of my friends came back without a hand. He was 23," said Sofiya, who runs a hostel in the centre of Lviv with her husband.

A similar breakdown in law and order followed by the seizure of control by local authorities has occurred across western Ukraine, including in the cities of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi and Lutsk. Sadovyi said he was in close contact with his counterparts in all those places.
The pictures from Kiev don't tell the whole story
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yes, the photographs from Kiev this week were uncanny, even “apocalyptic”. The orange sky, the burning buses, the blood on the barricades did indeed create scenes which looked like a Second World War movie. They made the city seem foreign, exotic, unreal – which is precisely why you should be wary of them.

Certainly there were quite a few things that the pictures didn’t show. The rest of Kiev, for example: it was far from business as usual in the Ukrainian capital this week, but neither was the entire city a war zone. The fighting was concentrated in a few places, and the rest of Kiev looked no different from any other European city.

The rest of the country wasn’t in the pictures either. In the city of Lutsk, in Western Ukraine, police not only refused to fight anti-government demonstrators, they joined them in demanding the resignation of the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

In truth, large parts of the country are already run by people who bitterly oppose Yanukovych and will happily say so quite loudly. Even if Kiev were permanently cleared of government opponents, the government’s problems would not be over. Disagreement is spread far beyond the capital.

More importantly, the pictures didn’t explain the motives of those who are taking part in these scenes. Nor did they explain why others, including many who were nowhere to be seen, went out of their way to create this kind of havoc.
More at the links.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Browning 35 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:17 pm

Well...supposedly they're letting Yulia Tymoshenko out of prison.

Parliament moves to release former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko from jail (*Click*)

Since Yanukovych isn't going anywhere and the elections are only a few months early I wonder if the protestors will quit. Especially what's happened the last few weeks. Out there all winter occupying government buildings and parks, then fighting police in huge pitched battles, then getting shot at and all those people getting killed. I'm kind of thinking not.

If he stepped down, yeah.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Kommander » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:40 pm

Browning 35 wrote:Since Yanukovych isn't going anywhere and the elections are only a few months early I wonder if the protestors will quit. Especially what's happened the last few weeks. Out there all winter occupying government buildings and parks, then fighting police in huge pitched battles, then getting shot at and all those people getting killed. I'm kind of thinking not.

If he stepped down, yeah.
I've noticed this in several of the recent revolutions. If the person or people in charge had thrown the protesters a bone early on all this could have been avoided. But instead these guys like to ignore or fight the protesters until it's too late for anything but their removal (often by any means necessary) from power to satisfy the people. From there these now ex leaders often end up on the run, on trial, or on fire.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:16 am

News this morning is that (as predicted here) the rank-and-file protesters aren't happy with the deal since the President isn't stepping down immediately, and no-one knows exactly where the President is (rumours are that he's left Kiev [Kyiv] for Kharkov [Kharkiv] where his supporter base is stronger).

I'll look for some links after breakfast.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:39 am

sheddi wrote:I'll look for some links after breakfast.
Ukraine crisis: President's Kiev offices unguarded
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26299670" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Kiev offices of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych are unguarded, with opposition protesters apparently in full control of the government district, say BBC correspondents. The BBC's Kevin Bishop says he was able to enter the complex unchallenged.

Opposition leaders say President Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown, must stand down immediately. They have called for elections by 25 May - not by the end of December as envisaged in Friday's peace deal. Despite the EU-mediated agreement signed on Friday, thousands of people have remained on the streets of Kiev.

As parliament met on Saturday morning, its speaker Volodymyr Rybak resigned, citing ill health. Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the opposition Udar party, told MPs: "We must, as the people demand, adopt a resolution calling on Yanukovych to immediately resign."

President Yanukovych is not in parliament - there are unconfirmed reports he has left Kiev, with suggestions that he has travelled to Kharkiv in the east, close to the Russian border. Reuters quoted an unnamed senior security force as saying "everything's OK" with the president and that he was still in the country.
And an op-ed bit here from the BBC's North America editor looking at the geopolitics:

Ukraine crisis: Why Russia and EU both stand to lose
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26299178" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ukraine is not a square of a Cold War chessboard. President Barack Obama has told us so. The mantra in official Washington is that this crisis is not a zero sum game - Russia doesn't have to see itself as the loser in a power struggle.

The trouble is it does, it will, and that, sadly, ensures more problems in the future.

Ukraine, seen by some as the birthplace of Russian Orthodoxy, has been pulled between East and West for centuries: First subsumed into Europe, then buried beneath Russia, occasionally emerging as an independent nation in charge of its own direction and destiny. This is what those bullets and Molotov cocktails are all about. Ukrainian-born Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation told me this is a battle for an important country's European future.

"It is a big country, 15% larger than France," he said. "It produces, inter-continental ballistic missiles, space launchers, some of the largest transport aircraft, bigger than jumbo jets. It has highly educated workers and probably the best agricultural land in Europe.

"It could be on a par with the economies of France and Germany eventually, but clearly it is corrupt, mismanaged and underdeveloped today."
As always, more at the links.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:10 am

An interesting statement from the Interior Ministry (think of it as akin to the US DoJ):
Here is Saturday's statement from Ukraine's interior ministry appealing for law and order: "The police are calling on citizens to ensure, by joint efforts, law and order in the state, not to allow the destruction of law-enforcement infrastructure, which has been built over the years and will always be needed by the people for protection against unlawful infringements."
So an appeal to the protestors; you've won the game, now don't break the toy you're going to need it yourselves.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by Browning 35 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:41 am

Kommander wrote:
Browning 35 wrote:Since Yanukovych isn't going anywhere and the elections are only a few months early I wonder if the protestors will quit. Especially what's happened the last few weeks. Out there all winter occupying government buildings and parks, then fighting police in huge pitched battles, then getting shot at and all those people getting killed. I'm kind of thinking not.

If he stepped down, yeah.
I've noticed this in several of the recent revolutions. If the person or people in charge had thrown the protesters a bone early on all this could have been avoided. But instead these guys like to ignore or fight the protesters until it's too late for anything but their removal (often by any means necessary) from power to satisfy the people. From there these now ex leaders often end up on the run, on trial, or on fire.
Yeah. Egypt, Libya, civil war in Syria that's still not finished and now here. Wouldn't be surprised if Yanukovych got hauled out of hiding in a culvert, got a stick jammed in his ass, shot out of hand and then had his golden High Power shown off by the guys who killed him.

Guess if they didn't have a repressive government they wouldn't be protesting in the first place though.
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Re: Ukraine unrest

Post by sheddi » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:45 am

What follow are quotes from the BBC's "live" stream. Treat as unconfirmed but from a mostly reliable source.
So where is the president? Several sources are saying he is in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv. But why? It was the capital of Soviet Ukraine from 1919-34. Mr Dobkin, the regional governor, said earlier in the week that protesters in Kiev's Independence Square should be disarmed, if necessary with force, and a number of state institutions transferred to Kharkiv.
Ukraine's parliament has authorised the newly-appointed speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, to co-ordinate the work of the executive until a new government is appointed, official TV channel Rada reported.
Ukrainian TV channel ICTV has shown a pre-recorded address by the president, in which he says he needs to protect the people and that he will spare no effort to end the bloodshed. He says he will not leave Ukraine and will not resign, since he is a legitimately elected president. He describes the events in Ukraine as "vandalism, banditry and a coup".
The heads of four Ukrainian security bodies have appeared in parliament to declare they would not take part in any conflict with the people. They represented the paratroop unit of the military, the "Berkut" anti-riot police, Alfa special operations unit and military intelligence.
Yur Chernyy, Simferopol, Crimea emails: We are being warned that we should leave the Crimea in the next day or two as there may be conflict. The Tartar community is strongly pro-Maidan, and there are strong separatist pro-Russian elements here. People are afraid of what will happen.
The head of Ukraine's armed forces says the military will not get involved in the political unrest, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports. Yuriy Ilyin, Chief of the General Staff, said in a statement: "The armed forces personnel remain at their normal peacetime locations and perform their routine functions."
Ukraine's parliament has voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych and set elections for 25 May. MPs declared him constitutionally unable to carry out his duties. After the vote, some then stood, applauded and sang the national anthem. BBC Monitoring reports that the vote to dismiss Mr Yanukovych was broadcast live by the parliamentary TV channel Rada. The decision was passed by a majority of 328 votes although it was not clear whether any MPs voted against it or abstained.
And one that will make some people happy:
Yulia Tymoshenko left the hospital, where she has been held prisoner, in a wheelchair and got into a black jeep.
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