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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ukraine regains control over several Eastern Ukrainian cities during an anti-terrorist operation. Violent clashes in Odessa

Ukrainian military forces launch the next stage of anti-terrorist
operation in Eastern Ukraine
(Image: AP)
After the recent statements of Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchinov that Ukrainian authorities and security forces seem to lose control over the Eastern Ukrainian cities, seized and being controlled by separatist and Russian terrorist forces, Ukraine launched the next active stage of its national anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine on Friday, 2 May.

The assault of the separatists and terrorists started early in the morning of Friday, with the fierce fight. Separatists and pro-Russian terrorists have been responding with fire and heavy artillery, shooting down two Ukrainian helicopters. Though Ukrainian security forces, who participated in an anti-terrorist operation, managed to take all the 9 block posts and major firing positions of pro-Russian separatists and terrorists in Slovyansk, a city located in Donetsk region. The city was surrounded by Ukrainian security forces and taken into the circle, with the terrorists blocked in the city. Local residents were advised to remain at their homes and to stay away from their windows. Though despite of it several dozens of local residents have attempted to prevent Ukrainian security forces and military from moving into the city and formed human chains on the entrances to Slovyansk.

Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine
(Image: Reuters)
Slovyansk is currently almost totally under the control of Ukrainian security forces participating in this anti-terrorist operation, though there were the reports of ongoing shootings occurring on the city. The situation in Slovyansk is currently relatively calm, according to the officials, journalists and people on the ground. Nearly 6 people were reported to be killed during this operation and dozens were wounded. There are also casualties on the side of the separatists and terrorists as well.

Ukrainian prominent military expert and head of the “Information Resistance” group Dmytro Tymchuk has stated, citing his trusted sources that Russian military forces and officers have received an order from Moscow to retreat to Russia due to the outcome of an anti-terrorist operation. Thus, Russian terrorists’ forces tried to escape the city, leaving only local separatists to deal with Ukrainian security forces.

In addition to that pro-Russian forces and separatists, who remain currently blocked by Ukrainian military, SBU and National Guard forces in Slovyansk, have reportedly asked for “negotiations”.

It’s worth mentioning that Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov has issued earlier this day an ultimatum to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, demanding them to give up their fight, put down arms, free the seized buildings and release the hostages. Ukrainian authorities have also announced earlier that an amnesty will be imposed on those separatists who will willingly give up their arms and who didn’t commit crimes.

Ukrainian military launches an anti-terrorist operation in
Eastern Ukraine
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Thus, as Slovyansk is almost under control of Ukrainian forces, fierce fight is ongoing in another city of Donetsk region, Kramatorsk. Ukrainian security and Armed Forces have surrounded this city as well, and the military operation is ongoing there, with the heave shooting reported. There are also reports about the first casualties from the both sides. At least 20 people are dead and nearly 50 injured in Slovyansk; 7 dead and 10 injured in Krmaorsk.

As for other Eastern Ukrainian cities, captured by pro-Russian separatists and terrorist forces, the military operation will be launched there as well. Some of the cities though surrender, like Luhansk, where the separatists have left the building of the Regional Office.

Thus, an anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine is ongoing and brings significant results, despite the continuous accusations of Russia of violation of Geneva Accords by Ukrainian side and threats to Ukraine that Ukraine will have serious consequences if it won’t stop it’s “punitive operation against civilians in Eastern Ukraine” immediately, according to the Russian side. In addition to that, Russia has also accused Ukraine of hiring foreign fighters to participate in an anti-terrorist operation and accused also USA of sponsoring and supporting Ukraine. These accusations were denied by USA, as none of the international powers considers Russia as a trustful partner anymore, with its horrible media turned into propaganda machine and continuous provocations in Ukraine becoming known all over the world. US and EU representatives have even stated during the Friday’s extraordinary meeting of UN Security Council that Russian is evidently and openly supports the separatist activity in Eastern Ukraine and is a sponsoring terrorism, trying to disrupt presidential elections in Ukraine by destabilizing the situation in the country.
UN Security Council meeting over Ukrainian crisis
(Image: Facebook Obozrevatel)

Russia in its turn has demanded Ukrainian officials to immediately halt the military operation and initiated an extraordinary meeting of UN Security Council, where proposed to urge Ukraine to stop an anti-terrorist operation. But Russia didn’t get support in this issue, as UN Security Council has stated that Ukraine has the right to defend its territory and sovereignty and that Russia is currently the only one side violating the Geneva Accords.

In addition to that Russia is risking to face the new wave of wider and stricter sanctions, which will be imposed now jointly by EU and USA. US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed situation in Ukraine and Russian involvement in it on Friday and took a decision regarding the wide package of the new economic, diplomatic and political sanctions against Russia. It was stated that these sanctions are inevitable, in case if Russia will not make the steps to de-escalate the situation and won’t stop its involvement and provocations in Ukraine. The further sanctions will affect Russian key and strategic economic sectors.

Odessa buidling of Trade Unions during the clashes
(Image: Ukrainska Pravda)
Meanwhile horrible and violent clashes erupted on Friday, 2 May, in the Southern Ukrainian city of Odessa between pro-Ukrainian demonstrators and Kharkiv and Odessa Ultras and pro-Russian activists and separatists. Clashes erupted at about 3 p.m. local time and lasted till the late evening. Pro-Ukrainian march was attacked by pro-Russian forces, throwing Molotov cocktails and sound and smoke bombs and shooting pro-Ukrainian activists. Supporters of united Ukraine had responded an attack with throwing the stones and Molotov cocktails as well. There were several snipers of separatist and pro-Russian forces shooting the people from the roofs of the house, though local police didn’t react and didn’t do anything in order to stop the clashes and to disperse the crowds. Ministry of Interior reported about at least 4 people dead and dozens of injured as a result of the violent clashes. Later in the evening though pro-Russian and separatist forces have been hiding in the buildings of Odessa Regional Office and building of Trade Unions and were blocked there by pro-Ukrainian activists. Building of Odessa regional office was freed from separatists. In addition to that activists have destroyed AntiMaidan and pro-Russian camp nearby. But the building of the Trade Unions was set on fire later, as the fighting was ongoing. The fire was stopped, but there were a lot of casualties. Ministry of Interior officially reports about 30 people dead in the building of Trade Unions due to suffocation, choking with the fire smoke or jumping from the windows. More than 160 people are reportedly in the hospitals, though the numbers of injured are higher. Journalists and eyewitnesses though report that there are nearly 50 people dead in Odessa Trade Union building. Journalists and investigators report that those who were already identified were the citizens of Russia and Transdnistria.

Thus, the situation in Ukraine remains extremely tense, as a massive anti-terrorist operation, launched by the joint forces of Ukrainian SBU (Intelligence), Armed Forces and National Guard is ongoing, and Ukraine continues to regain control over Eastern Ukrainian territories. Though the situation is still tense and dangerous due to the threat of the new provocations in other Ukrainian regions as well, especially on the eve of the 9 May celebrations.