Saturday, May 3, 2014
Ukraine fights back, Only bluster from Moscow
It is likely that as many as 50 people have died in the past several days in clashes around eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces continued to surround enclaves of towns held by the Russian supported separatists Saturday.
The Kiev Post said the government’s forces made more progress in their siege on several Russian rebel-held cities. The insurgents’ roadblocks were removed and they had to hide in the city centers, where they woud quickly run out of food.
The Russian rebels introduced a new twist to their calls for help. They said a peacekeeping force, including Russian soldiers, should be brought into the area. That would mean other nations also would be involved.
RT’s story was headlined: "Odessa slaughter: 'How vicious mob burnt Ukraine anti-govt activists alive.'”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The authorities in Kiev are not only directly responsible, they are direct accomplices in these criminal actions. Their hands are full of blood.”
But the only immediate action Russia took was to begin combat helicopter exercises near Latvia and Lithuania, NATO members, Ria Novosti reported.
The Baltic Times, which covers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, called the maneuvers another provocation.
The action was likely to draw a response from NATO, which has already sent warships to the Black Sea and planes and troops to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Cold War 2 was coming closer to reality every day.
It wasn’t clear what would be the tipping point for Moscow. An invasion would invite crippling sanctions for an already ailing economy.
There was no sign of the invasion threatened for a month. There was no doubt Russian forces were in eastern an southern Ukraine already, but not enough to stop forceful action by Kiev, at least not without coming out from cover of their ski masks and unmarked uniforms.
A week after the rebels had seized a European team of observers in Sloviansk the group of seven was released.
Russian TV confirmed a Kiev claim that it had reclaimed the city of Kramatorsk. Kiev and its allies were calling Russian President Vladimir Putin [Unlink]’s bluff.
The Russian president, relying on exaggerated claims that he was an expert on black ops, has been able to control much of the narrative. In the KGB he shuffled papers in Dresden, according to biographer Masha Gessen.
The Operation for Security and Cooperation in Europe confirmed its seven members, kidnapped while on a bus, were released by the rebels. The group was made up of four Germans, a Dane, a Pole and a Czech.
Vice News published what it said was an incomplete list of others being held by the Russian rebels, including journalists.