My wife says they are calling it a revolution. They are getting tired or the outright corruption of the courts and police. She was told the special police were from Russia. even eastern city's are starting to see some unrest and that is unusual.
What is tragic is Ukrainian President Yanukovych's unexplained wealth gain for him and his family since his presidency and jailing of opposition of Yulya Tymoshenko for corruption. The corruption part is her alleged ties with Russia in securing a high price of gas for heating.
Now, his troops are firing on protesters. http://goo.gl/TAh79U
I wrote that piece on Ukraine travel being relatively safe. I may have to backtrack
I just read a report of more than 25 dead (including police and protesters) in the Maidan area.
I love Kyiv well, and have only good wishes for long-suffering Ukraine. It is heartbreaking.
As lonely said, the US State Department has issued a Travel Alert for Ukraine. From this alert:
"The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. Further violent clashes between police and protesters in Kyiv and other cities are possible. The location and nature of demonstrations and methods employed by the police can change quickly and without warning. Protest sites have drawn large crowds, and protesters have blocked roads in Kyiv and other cities and may do so again."
Rb,,, the warning was sent out by the US government to the embassy and any Americans in Kiev,,,, and according to Durak, to Americans anywhere in Ukraine.
Iím sure that any westerner should be careful,,,, because you canít tell what loyalties the people around you have.
Durak,,, they are talking about ďCivil WarĒ,,,, and that could create new borders within Ukraine,,,, do you have an idea of where those boundaries would be? Iíve heard that the Crimea region could be loyal to Russia.
lonely, thanks for the post on the truce -- that is welcome news! It has seemed as though Ukraine's president is prepared to use any amount of force against the protesters (after meeting his Kommandant Putin a couple of days ago) -- but perhaps he is sobering up a bit. Maybe the threat of sanctions from the west has had some effect.
As to new borders, I have bitterly joked about this for years, it being obvious what Tsar Putin always had in mind. But if matters came to that, it would be tragic. Probably this talk stems in part from the situation in western Ukraine, especially in the region of Lviv (sometimes transliterated Lvov). Reportedly, the Yanukovich government has (at this moment) no effective authority there: pro-European protesters have taken control.
Ukrainian nationalism is strongest in the west of the country. It can be "measured" to some extent by use of Ukrainian language, as distinct from Russian. If Ukraine WERE to split along such lines, I would imagine the line running (roughly) from the northern tip of Molodva through Kirovhrad and then Poltava to Sumy; independent Ukraine might include the territory west and north of this line, the rest being the Russian puppet state of Ukraine.
But this "mental exercise" wouldn't solve anything, I am sure. For a start, although Kyiv is well inside the majority Ukrainian language zone, the city probably has more than one million residents who use Russian as their language of daily communication. Also, most of Ukraine's Russian speakers identify themselves as Ukrainian, not Russian. And on the Black Sea coast, where Russian is generally the majority language, I suspect that a great many have no desired to go back under the Russian thumb. Even in pro-Russian Crimea (Krim), there is a large ethnic Tatar population that has strong historical reasons to despise Russian domination.
Splitting the territory into halves would be a grievous loss for the Ukrainian people. I suspect that it would also put east-west relations back to something like the cold war: the attitude of the west would be, "this guy Putin is terribly dangerous, and must be opposed and contained as much as the west can afford." Such a development would undo a great part of what Putin has wanted to accomplish.
In my opinion, Putin now has a tiger by the tail. When he sabotaged Ukraine's attempt to move toward the EU (with help from his errand boy Yanukovich), he almost certainly didn't expect the tremendous public resistance that occurred in Ukraine: the mousetrap closed on his own claw. Not only have things not gone smoothly his way, but the example of public resistance to tyranny is a threat to Putin's own standing at home. See this New Republic piece by Julia Ioffe:
Already in early December, Masha Gessen (a writer of both Russian and US citizenship who lived in Moscow until a few weeks ago) wrote in the NY Times about how Russians opposed to the Putin regime envy the spirited resistance shown by Ukrainians:
Durak,,, thanks for breaking it down for us, and 2nd, thanks for the links. I read both of them and both were good,,, and I have a little story or comment about them,,,, but later.
At first, I was surprised when I saw the news about the truce,,, and then almost disappointed, because it is most likely just a stall tactic,,,, and if so,,, nothing will change. What I would like to see, is Ukraine refusing to let Russia be their master,,, but yet, not think of the EU and the west as their messiah.
If Putin decides to retaliate,,, he can not only hurt Ukraine,,, but much of Europe too. Russia supplies gas to several countries in the EU.
In your link, they gave the real reasons for Putin using an iron fist with Ukraine. And at the same time, heís walking around the Olympics,,,, kissing the girls like heís a man of the people??
Iíve heard that the western part of Ukraine prefers the Ukrainian language,,,, I have also heard that their economy is much better than the rest of the country. Do you think the separation from Russia is the cause of it?
In your second link, they talk about the envy of Russians who are tired of Putin, and hope that Ukrainians win their battle,,, because if they lose,,,, there is little hope for them at home.
Is anyone else familiar with Simon & Garfunkel and the relevance of their song: The Sound of Silence ?
I've just received word from someone that is taking an active role in the protests, that people are still being beaten and shot. I asked her to stay away from the fighting,,,, she says she can not.
It doesn't pay for me to go to bed anymore tonight.
KIEV, UkraineóGunfire erupted in central Kiev on Thursday morning, just hours after the government and demonstrators had reached a tentative truce overnight to end an outburst of violence that had left dozens dead.
Witnesses said protesters broke through police lines in Kievís Independence Square and were moving toward parliament. It wasnít immediately clear which side had broken the truce. Russiaís Interfax news agency reported that the Ukrainian parliament building was being urgently evacuated, citing a member of parliament. A statement on the parliamentís website said sessions had been canceled there for the rest of the week.
Worried by Ukraine violence, Russia ponders next steps
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Ukrainian protester lobs a burning petrol bomb into a doorway, a police officer writhes in agony on the ground, smoke and flames rise from burning barricades.
Footage of violence in the Ukrainian capital was beamed almost non-stop into Russian homes by state television on Wednesday, accompanied by apocalyptic warnings of civil war next door and accusations of meddling by foreign states.
The pictures tell the story better than any politicians' words, ramming home the message that President Vladimir Putin wants to put across - the violence has got out of hand and must be stopped.
"Ukraine stands on a very dangerous threshold," said Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia's parliament. "It's all following the regulation course for a country heading towards civil war."
West Has Blood on Its Hands in Ukraine
Kiev, a typically quiet city of 2.8 million, saw more deaths last night than in any single day since World War II. At least 25 people were killed, and hundreds were gravely injured, many losing eyes or limbs, in what may be the beginning of full-blown civil war on the eastern border of the European Union.
It is easy to blame Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, as Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt did in a tweet: "We must be clear: Ultimate responsibility for deaths and violence is with President Yanukovych. He has blood on his hands." Because police officers died of gunshot wounds, it is equally easy to accuse radical protesters, as the Russian Foreign Ministry did in this statement: "Blood was spilled in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities last night as a result of criminal activity by radical opposition forces."
These were the two sides that fought on the streets of Kiev, exhibiting animal hatred and cruelty on a scale yet unseen by the current generation of locals. There was, however, a third guilty party: Western leaders and negotiators, who followed the conflict from its first days and missed several opportunities to curb it.
The protests started Nov. 21, when the Ukrainian government announced it would not be signing a trade and association agreement with the EU. Yanukovych had succumbed to pressure from Russia, which wanted Ukraine to be part of its own customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus and was offering a $15 billion aid package. At that point, all the EU had to do was extend an attractive enough aid package, and the problem would have been solved. Just a month later, EU bureaucrats revealed it would not have been beneath them to buy Ukraine's allegiance. But by the time they put a better offer on the table -- a $27 billion bailout package put together with help from the International Monetary Fund -- Yanukovych had already accepted Russian aid, and student demonstrators had been beaten up by riot police in Kiev, leading to the escalation of protest and the construction of the first barricades.
The next missed opportunity came after the beatings, when Western leaders could have pushed harder for Yanukovych to dismiss his government and punish the responsible officials. As it turned out, then Prime Minister Mykola Azarov's cabinet was not particularly dear to the president, who ultimately fired Azarov in late January after his attempt to push through several illiberal laws resulted in another escalation and the first three deaths on the streets of Kiev. Yanukovych even offered the prime minister's post to one of the parliamentary opposition leaders, Arseni Yatsenyuk. By then it was too late: Yatsenyuk, like other opposition politicians, knew the street would see him as a cowardly collaborator if he accepted.
Yanukovych's slowness to act is in large part his own fault, but it also represents the failure of numerous international mediators who had tried to midwife a deal between him and the opposition. The scandalous recording of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's conversation with Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, in which Nuland cursed the EU, revealed how ineffective those efforts were and how the Western diplomats could not stick to a single negotiating position.
The Western mediators had a strong hand to play. Yanukovych's family and cronies own assets in Europe and a number of offshore jurisdictions. Azarov's son lives in Vienna, where he has business interests. The Austrian newsmagazine Format recently published a flowchart detailing the known foreign interests of the Yanukovych clan. More is surely known to European intelligence services. The negotiators could have used the threat of going after these assets to soften up Yanukovych, but Europe vacillated on the subject of personal sanctions.
As recently as Feb. 17, Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, another Ukrainian opposition heavyweight, met with Merkel specifically to ask h
President Obama's condemnation rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. What will he do? He and Kerry have basically said Iraq and Afghanistan are their fights. Will Ukraine be different?
"We have been watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, not to resort to violence with peaceful protesters. There will be consequences if people step over the line. And that includes making sure the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians."
Yesterday I read reports that Russia was threatening to send troops. Now, I see reports that they are on their way.
There is fear in the streets with the http://goo.gl/vS3CRS not just in Kiev, but all over Ukraine. They are being bussed to the protests. Word is they will beat protesters, even the old and the young. My friend in Kiev, a college student, is going home.