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A Prelude to a Dismemberment?
Ukraine's Fiery Night

Last night was “not a quiet night in Kiev,” reports The Interpreter on its valuable liveblog of events on the ground in Ukraine. Protesters, some of whom are fascist “ultranationalists,” gathered to demonstrate outside the Rada (parliament) in the capital. The Interpreter:

[…] earlier there were protests which turned violent outside of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. Ultra-nationalists in the crowd appeared to be demanding that the Rada recognize a controversial group, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), as “heroes of Ukraine.” However, journalists like Christopher Miller and photographer Stefan Huijboom say that some in the crowds have admitted that they were paid to be there and do not belong to a political party, despite waving Praviy Sektor (Right Sector) and Svoboda flags. At the same time, Right Sector earlier denied that they were behind the protests, though they called for their own rally later in the day.

There were other protesters as well, a number of whom were reported by Russian state media (so at least somewhat dubiously) to have been national guardsmen demonstrating against the conflict in the east. Still more are just members of any number of groups of other disaffected Ukrainians. Kiev was not the only city to see protests overnight; Kharkiv had its share, too.

But the turbulence in Ukraine isn’t confined to protests. In the eastern region, the violence is ongoing despite the nearly month-and-a-half-old ceasefire. The fighting and shelling around Donetsk airport is increasing, and errant shells are finding their ways into civilian neighborhoods. In Lugansk to the north and around Mariupol on the coast, anti-government forces have Ukrainian military units pinned down. The OSCE reports on the latter:

At 14:23hrs on 14 October, the SMM – in Mariupol (113km south of Donetsk city) – heard what it assessed to be heavy GRAD shelling to the northeast of the city. A Ukrainian military officer attached to the Joint Control and Co-ordination Centre in Mariupol and the Liaison Officer at the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” based in Mariupol later informed the SMM that the shelling had been directed towards a Ukrainian military checkpoint 1km east of the village of Sartana (19km northeast of Mariupol). Another source told the SMM that seven people had been killed and 10 to 15 injured in the shelling.

It is unclear how much of the military violence can be attributed to the Kremlin’s string-pulling, but it would be consistent with Putin’s MO to assert his dominance and remind everyone who is in control. Regardless, it should remind Ukrainians just what the stakes are here. If another round of political instability and lawlessness grips the country, and if the upcoming parliamentary elections end up being contested on the streets of Kiev, Putin is not likely to pass on the opportunity to dismember Ukraine further.

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  • lukelea

    If another round of political instability and lawlessness grips the country . . .

    Why were we so quick to back the first round?

  • Sibir_RUS

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the spread of neo-Nazi ideology in Europe and called for efforts to prevent the revision of the outcome of the Second World War. “Unfortunately, the vaccine against the Nazi virus, developed at the Nuremberg trials, is losing its effectiveness in some European countries. A clear sign of this trend is open manifestations of
    neo-Nazism, which have become common in Latvia and other Baltic states,” Putin said on the eve of his visit to Serbia on October 16.
    “We are especially concerned in this respect about the situation in Ukraine, where an unconstitutional state coup in February was driven by nationalists and other radical groups,” Putin said in an interview with Serbian newspaper Politika.
    “Today, our common goal is to counter the glorification of Nazism, firmly counter attempts to revise the results of World War II and consequently fight any forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia,
    aggressive nationalism and chauvinism,” Putin stressed.
    Talking about the events of World War II, Putin said that “our nations together cracked down on the criminal ideology of hatred towards the humanity”.

    “Today it is important that people in different countries and continents understand what horrible ramifications can be brought about by confidence in one’s being exceptional, by attempts to achieve
    doubtful geopolitical aims as well as by neglect of basic human rights and morality. We must do everything to avoid such tragedies in the future,” Putin added.

    Putin also expressed gratitude to the people of Serbia for respecting the memory of Soviet soldiers, who fought with the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (NOAYU) during the years of the war. He added that over 31,000 soldiers and officers of the Red Army were either killed, injured or gone missing on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Besides, he mentioned that over 6,000 soldiers and officers fought
    against the invaders in the ranks of NOAYU.
    Putin will pay a visit to Belgrade on October 16, where he will attend the 70-year anniversary
    of the liberation of the Serbian capital from Nazi invaders during World War II. He will also have talks with the president and prime minister of Serbia over political and economic cooperation.

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