Deadline passes in Ukraine as pro-Russian forces seize another police building

posted at 8:01 am on April 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The interim government in Kyiv threatened to use force by early Monday to remove pro-Russian forces from government buildings in eastern Ukraine. The deadline passed without any action from the Ukrainian forces, but separatists didn’t just sit on their hands. Demonstrators seized a police building in another city near the Ukraine-Russian border this morning:

Pro-Russian separatists on Monday seized a police building in yet another city in Russian-leaning eastern Ukraine, defying government warnings that it was preparing to act against the insurgents.

Dozens of angry men hurled rocks, smashed the windows and broke into a police station in the city of Horlivka not far from the border with Russia, while hundreds of onlookers cheered them on. Thick white smoke rose from the entrance to the building.

The events in Horlivka were the latest sign of trouble in Russian-speaking eastern and southern regions, in which pro-Russian gunmen have seized a number of government buildings demanding more autonomy from the central government and closer ties with Russia.

So far, Kyiv has not yet sent its forces into action after the expiration of its deadline. Or have they?

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov issued a decree Sunday that those protesters who disarm and vacate government offices in several cities in the Russian-leaning east of the country by 0600 GMT Monday will not be prosecuted. Turchynov vowed that a “large-scale anti-terrorist operation” would take place to re-establish control over those areas and that the fate of the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia last month, will not be repeated.

There was no immediate comment from the government on the deadline passing.

But Serhiy Taruta, governor of the Donetsk region, where government buildings in several cities, including the regional capital Donetsk, have been seized by pro-Russian gunmen, said an anti-terrorist operation was underway in the region, according to the Interfax news agency.

Taruta did not give any details of what the anti-terrorist operation would entail. The governor usually does not have authority to launch anti-terrorist measures on his own and he was likely acting on the orders of top security officials in Kiev.

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh says that only one brief, early clash took place, and that Horlivka has all but fallen — and CNN has some dramatic video of the seizure of the government building:

Ukrainian officials have placed blame for unrest in the eastern section of their country squarely on their neighbor. The new Ukrainian government said the security operations were launched against terrorists who are attempting to “destroy our country.”

Giving no further details, it also said it had “concrete evidence of Russian special service involvement” in the pro-Russian protests and storming of buildings and would present it at an international meeting on the Ukraine crisis on Thursday.

Ukrainian security forces launched an operation Sunday to clear pro-Russian separatists from a police headquarters in the eastern city of Slaviansk, officials said.

However, a CNN crew in the city saw no sign of a large presence of Ukrainian security forces — with the exception of a single police car and a helicopter flying above — nor any confrontation with the occupiers.

Gunmen dressed in camouflage had stormed and seized the police building a day earlier in Slaviansk, a town about 100 miles from the Russian border, and set up barricades around it.

The hesitation comes, no doubt, from worries that any kind of military force used could trigger an invasion by Russia:

But NPR’s Ari Shapiro, who is in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, reminds our Newscast Desk that Ukraine’s government has promised it will use force, if necessary, in a bid to regain control. With up to 12,000 Ukrainian troops reportedly poised to enter the region, “people here are afraid of all-out war,” Ari says.

There are also fears, of course, about what might happen after any such action by Ukrainian forces. The AP notes that “Russia has warned the Kiev government against using force against the protesters in the east and has threatened to cancel international diplomatic conference on the Ukrainian conflict scheduled for later this week.”

Last month, Russian forces moved into what was the Ukrainian-controlled Crimean peninsula. Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea — an act that Ukraine, the U.S. and many other nations have deemed a violation of international law.

Last night, the UN Security Council held an emergency session about the situation in Ukraine — at the request of Russia. The Russian ambassador tried to claim that “anti-Semitic” forces were attempting to seize power, but the meeting became an opportunity to castigate the Russians instead. US Ambassador Samantha Power flat-out accused Russia of fomenting unrest as a pretext for further land grabs, and pledged more aid to Ukraine:

The Russian gambit seems to be working well enough. I wonder what Vladimir Putin thought he’d gain from calling the UNSC meeting. Perhaps he thought Russia could pre-empt action by demanding it himself, but it’s a rare miscalculation — instead setting Russia up for a public whipping. It’s doubtful that this will deflect Russia from its overall course, but it’s a public-relations smackdown they didn’t need.


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The only question here, is this Czechoslovakia 1938 or Poland, 1939?

Because the Russian tanks are going to roll in and take MORE than the “Sudetenland”. Neville Chamberlain proved that you can’t appease dictators to achieve “Peace In Our Time”.

ConstantineXI on April 14, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Time to up the DEFCON at Foggy Bottom!

The next strongly-worded letter is going to be printed in a typeface that includes both words in bold and an aggressive use of serifs. That will, of course, be moderated by using a medium grade of 100% recycled paper.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Sounds to me like Ukraine needs to have borders that only contain people that want to be there. Same for any nation or union of states.

Buddahpundit on April 14, 2014 at 8:14 AM

US Ambassador Samantha Power flat-out accused Russia of fomenting unrest as a pretext for further land grabs, and pledged more aid to Ukraine:

Just not military aid. It’s an empty threat and the world knows it.

In the meantime, Iran says that they’re going to send their terrorist Ambassador to the United States- visa or no visa. I’m guessing they’ll do it while Power is off on another vacation.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 8:14 AM

The Russians will gain hegemony over, at least, the eastern one third of the Ukraine one way or another. Patience and continued infiltration of agitators bent on controlling the security situation in various eastern Ukrainian towns and cities will result in the ‘capitulation’ of the National government and everything but full autonomy (possibly, including control of their own taxes and foreign relations), unless the Ukraine grows a pair and takes their country back, which would probably result in full invasion and break up of the Ukraine. Either way, the Ukraine is screwed and Western Europe and NATO joins The One in sucking their collective thumbs.

vnvet on April 14, 2014 at 8:19 AM

The only question here, is this Czechoslovakia 1938 or Poland, 1939?

Because the Russian tanks are going to roll in and take MORE than the “Sudetenland”. Neville Chamberlain proved that you can’t appease dictators to achieve “Peace In Our Time”.

ConstantineXI on April 14, 2014 at 8:06 AM

With out current leadership, 1938.

rob verdi on April 14, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Pro-Russian gunmen? They ARE Russian gunmen, Spetnaz in civilian clothing.

Bishop on April 14, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Pro-Russian gunmen? They ARE Russian gunmen, Spetnaz in civilian clothing.

Bishop on April 14, 2014 at 8:26 AM

The original statement still works if you take “Pro” to mean “Professional”.

bofh on April 14, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Yet the weakest and most incompetent President in the history of our Republic is telling us that Putin is acting out of weakness… Yes, acting out of the extreme weakness of Obama… A weakness never seen before in any President, not even with Jimmy Carter… Spine of Steel and all, and it will be too funny if not it is very extremely dangerous and damaging…

mnjg on April 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

The only question here, is this Czechoslovakia 1938 or Poland, 1939?

Because the Russian tanks are going to roll in and take MORE than the “Sudetenland”. Neville Chamberlain proved that you can’t appease dictators to achieve “Peace In Our Time”.

ConstantineXI on April 14, 2014 at 8:06 AM

For Obama, the weakest and most incompetent President in our history, it is always Czechoslovakia 1938 and it will never be Poland 1939… Why? Because if it is Poland 1939 then this fool will be forced to act and make a stand at last, something he will never do…

mnjg on April 14, 2014 at 8:39 AM

The lesson to every small country out there who’s threatened by a larger historical enemy from this fiasco?

Develop nukes ASAP.

If you already have them, NEVER GIVE THEM UP.

Say hello to worldwide nuclear proliferation.

Thanks, Obama.

ebrown2 on April 14, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Yet the weakest and most incompetent President in the history of our Republic is telling us that Putin is acting out of weakness

The rat-eared wonder is using 21st century smart diplomacy while Putin is practicing 19th century aggression. Guess which one is going to win?

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 8:41 AM

The original statement still works if you take “Pro” to mean “Professional”.

bofh on April 14, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Dammit, why can’t I have this sort of insight; I need a new brain.

Bishop on April 14, 2014 at 8:43 AM

The rat-eared wonder is using 21st century smart diplomacy while Putin is practicing 19th century aggression. Guess which one is going to win?

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Yes these morons spend all their time coming up with idiotic catch phrases and buzzwords thinking that it will solve all the ills under the sun… But what else do you expect from a fool who was elected twice solely on the power of catch phrases and buzzwords…

mnjg on April 14, 2014 at 8:50 AM

The only question here, is this Czechoslovakia 1938 or Poland, 1939?

ConstantineXI on April 14, 2014 at 8:06 AM

I am sure Obama and his crew have no idea what these dates are about.They can talk for hours about wars on women and redistribution though.

docflash on April 14, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Try to imagine if Mexico does this in southern Texas. It would be the same inaction. Any winning solution to both instances will involve purging millions of citizens at the end of the day or else you have a perpetual police state against an insurgency which is being fueled by an enemy nation adjacent to the situation.

Buddahpundit on April 14, 2014 at 9:13 AM

The lesson to every small country out there who’s threatened by a larger historical enemy from this fiasco?

Develop nukes ASAP.

If you already have them, NEVER GIVE THEM UP.

Say hello to worldwide nuclear proliferation.

Thanks, Obama.

ebrown2 on April 14, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Everybody knew that after Libya.

David Blue on April 14, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Try to imagine if Mexico does this in southern Texas. It would be the same inaction. Any winning solution to both instances will involve purging millions of citizens at the end of the day or else you have a perpetual police state against an insurgency which is being fueled by an enemy nation adjacent to the situation.

Buddahpundit on April 14, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Maybe the Federal agencies would be inactive, but I can’t imagine Perry or his successor (unless Davis wins it) sitting idle or heeding orders from DC to stand down. You can bet every Texas Ranger and Texas National Guard member would be called up to lay waste to the insurgents, whether or not the Federal brass approves of it.

TMOverbeck on April 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Our aid is only MRE’s. Just sending MRE’s to Ukraine which is one of the world’s bread baskets is like sending ice to eskimos, coals to Newcastle or doughnuts to the NYPD.

It does not matter how strong a lion you are, if you will not defend yourself, a rabbit can make you bleed to death. Right now Putin looks like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Western European leaders weak response to Putin’s aggression makes Neville Chamberlain look like Captain America. Where is the Winston Churchill?

KW64 on April 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM

If Obama can prolong this crisis until the election he might be able to inspire a rally ’round the president and provide democrats an opportunity to rally public support for Obama and the democrat party and bury Obamacare.

If it works in 2014 it should work in 2016,

Joseph OHenry on April 14, 2014 at 11:06 AM

WHEN CAN WE CALL THESE THUGS RUSSIAN TROOPS AND NOT PRO-RUSSIAN UKRAINIANS? ABOUT NOW?

bumsteaddithers on April 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM

WHEN CAN WE CALL THESE THUGS RUSSIAN TROOPS AND NOT PRO-RUSSIAN UKRAINIANS? ABOUT NOW?

bumsteaddithers on April 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Seriously…who in the world actually thinks these are locals and not Russian troops with the military patches removed from their uniforms?!? Might as well have just kept the patches on and placed a X over them with red tape.

nextgen_repub on April 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Time to up the DEFCON at Foggy Bottom!

The next strongly-worded letter is going to be printed in a typeface that includes both words in bold and an aggressive use of serifs. That will, of course, be moderated by using a medium grade of 100% recycled paper.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Good point, the choice of font can be a valuable tool in forcing fascist dictators to reconsider invasion plans.

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Ukraine is not in NATO and even if they were, every NATO member except the U.S. lacks the military infrastructure to carry out a sustained conflict. Europe traded military capabilities for social welfare programs and the end result is they are at the mercy of Russia. I see lots of hand wringing over this but no real solutions. Face it, no sanctions or “public-relations smack down” (lol) is going to do anything about it. The comparisons to WW2 are laughable. The Russian military is not exactly the Wehrmacht and Ukraine is not exactly of much strategic importance.

jephthah on April 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The Russian military is not exactly the Wehrmacht and Ukraine is not exactly of much strategic importance.

jephthah on April 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Sadly the Wehrmacht is not the Wehrmacht anymore either. OTOH Germany is too dependent on Russian energy to risk annoying Russia even if their military was still a significant player. However, giving arms to the Ukrainians might make it possible for them to slow Putin’s race to the Rhine a little bit.

KW64 on April 14, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The East Ukrainian protestors are only copying the same tactics used by the West Ukrainians who brought about the coup. It’s a play by play imitation.

If this imitation shows that the East Ukrainians must be Russian special forces, then the previous West Ukrainian actions must have been American special forces.

The logic is the same, but the logic is no good.

David Blue on April 14, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs decided to establish a corps of special forces as the bodies of the MIA aimed to fight criminal groups posing as civilians throughout the country in the context of externally inspired separatist and terrorist attacks, creating gangs financed from outside of the country, who is the threat of internal law and order.

Donetsk will receive its special unit created from patriots of Donbas and the idea of united country. Luhansk will receive the same special unit created from patriots from Luhansk as well as Dnipropetrivsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson and Kharkiv. As a result, every region of the country will have the opportunity to create such a special unit for stabilizing situation. Firs of all, the special units will be created at the eastern and the southern parts of the country, then in the west and the center of the country.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is ready to recruit more than 12,000 people throughout the country to the new special forces providing them with weapons, uniform, and personnel management officers.

«I have already signed the first order on establishing the Special Force “East” in Luhansk region. Creation of the special units will occur in a very short time, without delays and formalities according to nowadays challenges, “- the Minister stressed.

In other words the local police and military won’t obey orders so they have to recruit and form special ‘patriotic‘ units for internal enforcement.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 3:26 PM

SPETNAZ in the building?
Timmothy McVie had a solution for THAT.

Missilengr on April 14, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Maybe the Federal agencies would be inactive, but I can’t imagine Perry or his successor (unless Davis wins it) sitting idle or heeding orders from DC to stand down. You can bet every Texas Ranger and Texas National Guard member would be called up to lay waste to the insurgents, whether or not the Federal brass approves of it.

TMOverbeck on April 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

What would standing up to it entail? How do you know when you’ve won? They’ll get what they want because to not let them have what they want would make you have to do the sort of things that make you go down in history as a Hitler or a Stalin.

The Ukraine should just let the Russian sympathetic population have dual citizenship and let any Russians come into their country and have babies that will get Ukrainian/Russian citizenship. Then you can let them increase their numbers there until they can have complete democratic control of the country and they won’t feel the need to split off.

Buddahpundit on April 15, 2014 at 12:40 AM