Fears of civil war in Ukraine increase as armed volunteers fight pro-Russian separatists
By End the Lie
The fears of a full-scale civil war in Ukraine are on the rise with increasing numbers of armed volunteer forces supporting the regular Ukrainian military against pro-Russian separatists in the east.
Read our latest: “Pro-Russian separatists kill six in grenade launcher attack as diplomats seek new talks” and “Russia ‘respects the will’ of Ukrainians voting for autonomy, but stops short of annexing”
Tensions in the eastern part of the country are only getting worse as separatists recently killed six in a grenade launcher attack and have called on the Ukrainian military to withdraw troops on Thursday and Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine must pay cash for gas in advance starting next month.
Now the Guardian reports that volunteer battalions are being deployed with very little training in an effort to combat the separatists.
“Arming troops with almost no real training and sending them into extremely sensitive situations where they may be shot at with weapons from within crowds, largely made up of angry but unarmed civilians, sounds like a recipe for disaster,” the British paper reports.
Disaster is unfortunately just what has come about as a result of the incursions in eastern Ukraine.
Last Friday, “at least eight people” were killed when the Ukrainian national guard entered the city of Mariupol to clear the police station of separatist fighters.
The Ukrainian interior minister said that 20 pro-Russian separatists were killed in the operation.
When the military was retreating, they opened fire on civilians, “almost all of whom were unarmed,” according to the Guardian.
The Guardian reports that there are concerns surrounding the “extreme nationalist element among those fighting.” While they say the Russian claims of the entire Ukrainian government being fascist are false, “there are certainly far-right elements involved in the fight in the east.”
Andriy Parubiy, the head of the Ukrainian national security and defense council, for example, “has an extremely dubious past,” according to the Guardian.
Parubiy established the neo-fascist Social National Party of Ukraine in the 1990s with Oleh Tyahnybok, the current leader of the far-right Svoboda, according to the paper.
The Guardian notes that while there is little evidence of a far-right ideology motivating the fighting in eastern Ukraine, there is still “no doubt that radicals have been the people most willing to fight, and this has led to a number of situations which appear to be well beyond the bounds of normal military behaviour.”
“This whole situation is completely out of control,” said Anna Neistat, an associate director for Human Rights Watch, currently in eastern Ukraine.
One example cited by the Guardian is of Oleh Liashko, a radical politican running for president in the May 25 elections.
Liashko’s campaign posters read, “Death to the Occupiers!” and are “widely displayed all over cities across western Ukraine,” according to the Guardian.
A video of Liashko humiliating Igor Kakidzyanov, the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, during an interrogation circulated on social media and was even promoted by Liashko himself.
Kakidzyanov was shown being interrogated while bound and in his underwear, something that Liashko said was not inappropriate.
“We need a people’s war, like in the second world war when people rose up to fight fascism, that’s what we need to do now,” Liashko said to the Guardian.
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