Apocalypse soon: Ukrainian president reportedly flees Kiev

posted at 6:37 pm on February 21, 2014 by Allahpundit

The comment counts on our Ukraine threads make me think some readers have tuned out this story. Now’s the moment when you’ll want to tune in.

If what The Interpreter’s hearing is true, Yanukovych has left Kiev for the city of Kharkiv. Maybe that’s because he’s lost control of the capital or maybe, as the State Department claims, he’s gone to Kharkiv to, ahem, shore up support. Either way, though, there’s no scenario where the government simply abdicates and the opposition takes over. Russia won’t relinquish the country that easily. So either things are about to get even rougher in Kiev as Putin fills the power vacuum or Yanukovych is planning a new move. What does that mean? Naval War College prof John Schindler fears the worst:

Here’s the latest from a story highlighted by The Interpreter:

Tomorrow President Viktor Yanukovych will take part in a Congress of the “Ukrainian Front” which is being organised by the Kharkiv governor, Mikhail Dobkin.

Sources at Kharkiv airport told Hvilya that the aeroplane carrying Yanukovych will land in Kharkiv within half an hour.

Furthermore, our sources in the Presidential Administration reported that all of the most combat ready of the Berkut and army forces have been transferred to Kharkiv and the southeast.

There is, in theory, a deal between Yanukovych and the opposition to reform the government, but Russia’s apparently not interested and neither are the Euromaidan protesters. They want Yanukovych to resign; meanwhile, the woman he defeated for the presidency four years ago could be out of prison within the next few days and ready to help lead the opposition. All the makings of civil war are present, in other words, from powerful national sponsors to ethnic tensions between Russian descendants living in the country and native Ukrainians. Someone just needs to give the word, whether Yanukovych or his boss. And even if Yanukovych resigns, depriving Putin of his proxy, the word may still come down. That’s what “Little Russia” means to Moscow.

How serious it it? This serious:

Russia is prepared to fight a war over the Ukrainian territory of Crimea to protect the ethnic Russian population and its military base there, a senior government official has told the FT.

“If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war,” the official said. “They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia.” In August 2008, Russian troops invaded Georgia after the Georgian military launched a surprise attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia in an effort to establish its dominance over the republic…

However, many government officials say in private that Ukraine falls inside Russia’s sphere of influence. “We will not allow Europe and the US to take Ukraine from us. The states of the former Soviet Union, we are one family,” said a foreign policy official. “They think Russia is still as weak as in the early 1990s but we are not.”

The speaker of the Crimean parliament has already said it’s possible the region would turn to Russia for “protection” if the country fractures. That’s likely to be one of the first flashpoints. What better way to celebrate a successful Olympics than with a big irredentist blowout on the peninsula?

If Russian tanks roll, how does the EU answer? While you mull that over, follow The Interpreter’s liveblog for updates.

Update: I’m sure it went well.

Update: The Lenin statues are coming down in Ukraine.

Update: I missed this earlier but Noah Rothman didn’t.


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Schadenfreude

Bmore on February 21, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Kool

Bmore on February 21, 2014 at 11:33 PM

I feel horrible for the brave Ukrainian protestors. Their faith is sealed because we have a worthless Commander-in-Chief here in the US.

Lesson for anyone yearning for freedom: Do not rebel against socialist/communist regimes when a Democrat holds the White House. You will be dead.

It doesn’t matter if it is Spring 1968 in Czechoslovakia or Winter 2014 in Ukraine & Venezuela.

Norwegian on February 21, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Obama should go over there and give a speech. That would solve everything!

myiq2xu on February 21, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Make no mistake: if Yanukovych announces the succession of a Moscow-backed “Eastern Ukraine” – Europe has a war on its hands. A major one.

— John Schindler (@20committee) February 21, 2014

You mean same “war on your hands” we saw in Georgia just a short time ago?

These idiots are actually paid for their thoughts? This will be an easy slaughter of Nazis in Western Ukraine, its been coming to a head for some time now.

riddick on February 22, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Norwegian on February 21, 2014 at 11:35 PM

You support Nazis now?

riddick on February 22, 2014 at 12:03 AM

You support Nazis now?

riddick on February 22, 2014 at 12:03 AM

Wow, you won both the Darwin and Godwin’s Law awards with a single sentence.

Impressive display of idiocy and history cluelessness

Norwegian on February 22, 2014 at 12:21 AM

Make no mistake: if Yanukovych announces the succession of a Moscow-backed “Eastern Ukraine” – Europe has a war on its hands.

“Succession??????” Mr. Schindler, you’re supposedly some sort of a foreign policy expert, and a professor at a war college, no less.

The word is “secession.”

Jeez

notropis on February 22, 2014 at 12:39 AM

Well my comments aren’t showing up. Got to figure out which word that has already been used by AP is verboten for me.

notropis on February 22, 2014 at 12:40 AM

So, anyway, a supposed foreign policy expert tweets “succession????” What he meant was a word that I think is getting my comments quashed.

notropis on February 22, 2014 at 12:41 AM

Gee, didn’t one of them Presidential candidates in 2012 mention Russia as a threat to world stability and take lots and lots of crap for saying it?
Golly, between Syria, the Ukraine, our lovely United Nations kowtowing to Putin and including throwing in the community organizer in the White House, we must really be laughing over there at the NYC media center of thought, eh, media gurus??

DublOh7 on February 22, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Impressive display of idiocy and history cluelessness

Norwegian on February 22, 2014 at 12:21 AM

Talk about idiocy. You do know who Right Sector are, right?

Obviously not.

I lived with these Nazis, was born in Lvov and had to hear “kike” from early age. A good day was when hearing “kike” did not turn into an altercation.

And you call others idiots? Look up Right Sector before yoo open your mouth and prove you’re an idiot.

riddick on February 22, 2014 at 3:50 AM

Riddick,

In a previous post, you emphatically claimed that the interior ministry troops were not using live ammunition against the people in Independence Square. This was at the same time this video was taken showing these brave freedom fighters being mowed down by sniper fire:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DxkDiAcSF8

I think that says all we need to know about your credibility. Your prior posts have made it clear that you don’t consider Ukraine a sovereign nation and want to see it revert back to Russian control.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can convince the people on here into thinking the opposition to Yanukovich is based on ant-Semitism and Nazis. As I said before, I have family in Ukraine and I have travelled to Kiev, Chernigov, and other parts of Ukraine on many occasions in recent years. Your accusations couldn’t be more untrue.

The truth about you can be summed in your comment that that eastern forces will “slaughter” the people in the west and your apparent eagerness for such a result.

newbyj99 on February 22, 2014 at 7:23 AM

The source you’ve linked to, The Interpreter, is plainly biased toward the rebel side. The truth is that there is an armed rebellion going on, and Yanukovich doesn’t feel that he can just kill the rebels, because the armed forces in the western part of the country will probably go over to the rebels in that case and there will be a full blown civil war. The Interpreter uses ridiculously transparent evasions to obscure the fact the protesters have firearms and are using them. Another truth is that the armed rebels are in large part the most extreme of the nationalist half of Ukrainian politics, the neo-Nazi xenophobes. People with more moderate views aren’t as likely to risk their lives for them after all. An the Ukrainian far-right, after they’ve shot the cops, are going to want to shoot some Jews.

“I told my community to get out of the city and if possible out of the state…there are many warnings about planned attacks against Jewish institutions,” Asman [a chief rabbi of Ukraine] said, adding, “We have been told by the Israeli Embassy to not go outside.”

What’s the Interpreter’s commentary?

Does he have reasons to be concerned? Of course, but this statement may just reinforce the idea that these events are being driven by hardline nationalists.

Stop worrying about being shot, you’re making us look bad!

BubbaHoTep on February 22, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Viktor Yanukovich flees his palace as the former prime-minister was released from prison, after the parliament voted in favor of the Yulia Tymoshenko release from jail.

ama on February 22, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can convince the people on here into thinking the opposition to Yanukovich is based on ant-Semitism and Nazis. As I said before, I have family in Ukraine and I have travelled to Kiev, Chernigov, and other parts of Ukraine on many occasions in recent years. Your accusations couldn’t be more untrue.

newbyj99 on February 22, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Most opposition supporters aren’t active anti-Semites, but the ones who are going to pick up a gun and go get into firefights with cops are the ones with the most extreme beliefs. There are a lot of neo-Nazis in that square.

As a Jew from the former Soviet Union, I can tell you that, while there was some anti-Semitism everywhere, it was by far the most intense in Ukraine. The only surprising part for me about the report that the Kiev Jews are afraid of being attacked is that there are still some Jews left in Ukraine.

BubbaHoTep on February 22, 2014 at 8:33 AM

The question no one is asking (but should) is what will the Eastern European nations do?

I just cannot fathom Poland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, et al. sitting back while Russia re-invades former Soviet republics to reunite their empire. The wounds are too fresh.

Nessuno on February 21, 2014 at 7:29 PM

I agree that this won’t be the cake walk for Putin that many hear think it will. Besides Eastern Europe possibly getting involved, he will have to deal with Ukrainian guerilla warfare. The Ukrainians put up a good fight against the Soviets up till the 50′s. They hate Russia and won’t fold easily.

Cecil Corn on February 22, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Where is your red line now Obama…..just another body count for your resume….

crosshugger on February 22, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Memo to Ukrainians from nancy pelosi: Embrace the suck….

crosshugger on February 22, 2014 at 8:52 AM

An excellent website updated in real time:

http://www.interpretermag.com/ukraine-liveblog-day-5-yanukovych-topples/

Natasha Lysova told The Associated Press that Tymoshenko was released from her prison in Kharkiv on Saturday

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/international/europe/2014/02/aide_ukraines_tymoshenko_released_from_prison

The Russian view:

http://rt.com/news/thousands-gather-eastern-ukraine-252/

This ain’t over.

Viator on February 22, 2014 at 8:55 AM

From the Crimea:

http://tinyurl.com/nob92bs

Viator on February 22, 2014 at 9:02 AM

An excellent website updated in real time:

http://www.interpretermag.com/ukraine-liveblog-day-5-yanukovych-topples/

The Russian view:

http://rt.com/news/thousands-gather-eastern-ukraine-252/

Viator on February 22, 2014 at 8:55 AM

The Interpreter is shamelessly slanted for the pro-western side in this conflict, just as the Russian media is slanted for the other side. If you want to figure out the truth, you’d better read both sources and try to take the average

BubbaHoTep on February 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM

I guess it’s going to get even messier after the Olympics are over. Once the foreigners are out of Sochi, then Moscow will make its move.

Aplombed on February 22, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Tweets All / No replies

Retweeted by Richard Engel
The Associated Press ‏@AP 9m

BREAKING: Ukraine’s president says he won’t resign and likens country’s political crisis to Nazis’ rise.
Expand
Reply
Retweet
Favorite
Richard Engel ‏@RichardEngel 10m

Ukrainian President Yanukovich denounced what he described as a “coup d’etat”, in an interview with a Ukrainian television station.
Expand

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Ukraine’s president, opposition leaders sign peace deal
2m
More: Ukrainian President Yanukovych calls opposition ‘gangsters’ during TV interview where he refuses to resign – @Reuters
end of alert

canopfor on February 22, 2014 at 9:34 AM

The Interpreter is shamelessly slanted for the pro-western side in this conflict, just as the Russian media is slanted for the other side. If you want to figure out the truth, you’d better read both sources and try to take the average

BubbaHoTep on February 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM

I’m not sure that is true. The Interpreter is a project of the Institute of Modern Russia, an institution filled with members of the Russian opposition and heavy hitting Russian intellectuals.

http://imrussia.org/en/about-us
http://imrussia.org/en/people

The president of the Institute of Modern Russia is the son of this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Khodorkovsky

Viator on February 22, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Most opposition supporters aren’t active anti-Semites, but the ones who are going to pick up a gun and go get into firefights with cops are the ones with the most extreme beliefs. There are a lot of neo-Nazis in that square

BubbaHoTep on February 22, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting there isn’t some anti-Semitism in Ukraine. Unfortunately, it still exists everywhere. But, as you said, that does not represent most of the opposition and it is not the driving force behind it.

newbyj99 on February 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

The Civil War will begin at dawn on 24 Feb just as the participants in Sochi are departing.
One Hell of a Farewell!

Another Drew on February 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I read somewhere at the end of last year, though I don’t recall where, that 2014 could very well be a repeat of 1914. The last time we had the such a progressive President in the White House. Not looking good.

txmomof6 on February 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Heavy handed tactics by Moscow in an attempt to somehow recreate the “Soviet Union” through false arrangements won’t work in the long run. We’ve seen this movie before in Europe where nations, under the guise of protecting their citizens, uses that excuse to conquer independent states.

An opportunity for war? Most certainly- look at the past for clues about that possibility. Almost ever sign points to some level of conflict.

This is a direct result of Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s destructive foreign policy since his election. They have destroyed confidence in our leadership and the ability of people who seek freedom and independence to see us as a shining beacon of support. Ultimately, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have diminished our credibility as enemies of democracy march and crush free people without fear of reprisal or consequence.

But they do give good speeches and it’s “time” or something.

The world is a much more dangerous place for America.

Marcus Traianus on February 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Hope he gets to meet face to face with some of the Ukrainians who enjoyed freedom from the communist Russian scum before he started making deals with Putin. The free exchange of ideas will do him some good, if he lives through it.

Jaibones on February 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 1h

If you want to know who the good guys are in Ukraine, they’re the ones pulling down Lenin statues.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/02/21/It-Raining-Lenins-Video-Compilation-of-Lenin-Statutes-Toppled-in-Ukraine

davidk on February 22, 2014 at 10:37 AM

It doesn’t matter if it is Spring 1968 in Czechoslovakia or Winter 2014 in Ukraine & Venezuela.

Norwegian on February 21, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Suggest adding 2009 Iran to that list.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM

And anyway, I though Crimean wars were so 19th century passe?

Has anyone thought about Turkey lately? They sure played a hand in Libya and Syria did they not?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 22, 2014 at 10:57 AM

txmomof6 on February 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I read that article too. I believe it was at American Thinker. The similarities are there again in Europe and in our White House.

jazzuscounty on February 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM

davidk on February 22, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Except not in Seattle, WA U.S.A.
-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hha9O_26QI

diogenes on February 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Impressive display of idiocy and history cluelessness

Norwegian on February 22, 2014 at 12:21 AM

riddick is apparently a liar and a Russian sympathizer.

Those people pulling down Lenin’s statues will not go down easily in a fight. They are emboldened by success. Putin’s forces are not strong. They suck at asymmetrical warfare.

If Putin is smart he stays out and makes a deal with the new government after the dust settles.

dogsoldier on February 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM

This will not end well. Vladimir Putin’s contempt for Barack Obama will make him reckless in his actions. He has no fear of the US with Obama at the helm.

paulus1 on February 22, 2014 at 5:19 PM

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