As Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operation continues the bodies are beginning to pile up on both sides making it increasingly hard to deny that Ukraine is, in fact, in a civil war. Kiev and pro-Russian forces are exchanging gunfire and casualties in Slovyansk while pro-Russian riots break out in Odessa in the aftermath of the massacre there.
The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk says he and the rest of the pro-Russia forces there are defending the city against fascists and said his message for President Obama was “Please stop supplying money and weapons, with military forces and mercenaries like Blackwater.”
Whether the US is financing mercenary armies in Ukraine is unknown though the actual makeup of the “Ukrainian military” and the forces fighting for the gang in Kiev is less than clear.
Ukraine’s embattled new leaders have launched their most intensive effort yet to dislodge pro-Russian separatists who have reportedly seized government buildings in nearly a dozen cities and towns.
Kiev authorities describe the separatists as “terrorists.” But the rebels say they are defending Russian-speaking areas of the east against Ukrainian “fascists” trying to root out Russian influence in the country.
As the US government publicly supports Kiev’s military campaign the Russian foreign minister claims Kiev is “continuing a war against the people of their own country.”
While gun battles rage in Slovyansk, Odessa continues to be unstable as rioters forced the release of 67 “enemies of the state” in exchange for going home. Highlighting the continued problem Kiev is having in asserting authority on military and law enforcement outside the capital.
“Interim” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk went to Odessa claiming he wanted unity while accusing the ethnic Russians of essentially being controlled by Moscow which seemed to do little to bring about unity and a lot to further inflame ethnic tensions.