With presidential elections set to take place in late May, the government in Kiev is losing control of East Ukraine. Pro-Russia separatists have taken control of local police and administrative buildings and appear completely unwilling to submit to the authority of the gang in Kiev.
Local authorities in East Ukraine were not only unable to prevent pro-Russia groups from taking control of government buildings, in some cases it appeared they were completely unwilling to oppose them.
On Tuesday, 3,000 activists – some in masks and military fatigues – stormed the regional government HQ in the eastern city of Luhansk. Police supposed to guard the building let the crowd inside. A pro-Russian militia had occupied the security service office in Luhansk, a town of 465,000, just 20 miles (32km) from the Russian border…
But in recent days Kiev’s tentative grip on local law enforcement in the east appears to have slipped completely. In Luhansk riot police stood passively in a courtyard, kettled in by separatists armed with bats and hammers. “The regional leadership does not control its police force,” Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to the interior minister in Kiev, told Reuters. “The local police did nothing.”
There seems little promise that the “interim government” in Kiev has any hope of turning the situation around. After a failed military assault and a complete inability to force local officials in East Ukraine to act it seems Kiev is just another city in West Ukraine to those in the east.
Meanwhile Svoboda demonstrates its power in Kiev. Those May 22nd elections seem far away indeed.