The eastern Ukrainians, who are protesting against the neo-Nazi takeover of the country, have been threatened by Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, who said he is ready to adopt violent means to resolve the situation within 48 hours. Avakov told journalists yesterday that the coup-imposed government is ready to use force in Donetsk and Luhansk, where government buildings have changed hands several times and some remain occupied. “There are two solutions: a political one through negotiations or through force,” the minister said on the margins of a government meeting, Russia Today reported. He confirmed that a special police task force from western regions of Ukraine has already arrived in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkov, cities where protests against the new government in Kiev have been continuing for weeks now.
In Donetsk, the buildings of power structures remained under control of the protesters as some police officers refused to counteract protesters. In Luhansk, protesters captured local headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) along with an arsenal stored there. So far there have been no attempts to recapture the occupied buildings. Activists in Luhansk have announced they are not going to leave the building until a nationwide referendum on the “federalization” of Ukraine— reorganization of the country into regions with broad autonomy— is held. In Kharkov, about 30 percent of policemen have refused to storm the administration.
In Luhansk, protesters, many of them now carrying and frequently displaying their passports to prove they are all Ukrainian citizens, have issued a statement saying, “We represent veterans of the Afghan campaign [in the 1980s], former border guards and other peaceful trades, and we have just a single legitimate demand: we want a referendum. This is the expression of the will of the people and we want to be heard.” They concluded,”If you go against us, welcome to hell. We’ll make a decent stand. Godspeed, officers!”
Has Kiev Contracted Private Mercenaries to Carry out Violence?
Despite the denial issued by the private mercenaries, Greystone Limited—a structural part of Blackwater, aka Xe Services, aka Academi—to ABC News on April 8, there are reports of sightings of the English-speaking mercenaries at the Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine. Note that Greystone, having denied any presence in Ukraine to ABC News, told other news outlets that it has “no comment” on the Russian allegation that Greystone mercenaries are functioning in Ukraine.
April 9th, Voice of Russia cited a Donetsk local who has posted a photo of soldiers on a social networking site. The soldiers, outside a local military enlistment office, were armed with sub-machine guns and light-weight machine guns and spoke English. The coordinator of the Self-Defense of Donbass united organization of Donetsk activists had told the news daily earlier that a plane with 200 foreign mercenaries had landed at Donetsk airport. According to him, the legionnaires could neither speak Russian nor Ukrainian.
Pointing out that the presence of private mercenaries could trigger a violent civil war in Ukraine, former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti yesterday: “We saw in Iraq how private security forces can get out of control. Whenever you are in a politically sensitive, a military sensitive situation, the last thing you want is private security out there, because they can actually profit by an expanded conflict. They can stir up a war and then profit from it.”
Alluding to the reports of Greystone mercenaries’ presence in Ukraine, Kucinich said, “if oligarchs (of Ukraine) want to hire people to protect them, they have a right to do that. But if nations bring in private armies, you are looking at a combustible material here because there is no control.”