[Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls for negotiation (rt) (AFP Photo / Vasily Maximov)]
Note: Much of the information below was translated by Ms. Rea from www.vz.ru.
Pro-Russian multi-thousand rallies were held on Sunday in parts of the Eastern Ukraine – Lugansk, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Donetsk. There were about two thousand people at a rally in Donetsk. People shouted pro-Russian slogans and held flags of the Russian Federation, St. George’s flags and also flags of various pro-Russian public organizations.
Protesters occupied the building of Donetsk regional state administration, including the floor where is the office of the chairman of the regional administration, Sergei Taruta. The latter is a new protégé of the Kiev authorities: residents of Donetsk were displeased by his appointment and repeatedly went to rallies, seeking his resignation.
In Kharkov, there was a skirmish between participants in the pro-Russian rallies and supporters of so-called Euro-Maidan. In Mariupol, participants of the pro-Russian protests stormed the prosecutor’s office and demanded a meeting with the management department about the recent detention of the self-proclaimed mayor Dmitry Kuzmenko.
Protest rallies of supporters of Ukraine federalization were held against the backdrop of mass repressions that the Ukrainian security services deploy against residents of southeastern regions who do not recognize the new government in Kiev.
“The anti-terrorist activities,” the intensification of criminal liability for separatism, and even imposition of the state of emergency – all these measures are promised by the Kiev authorities in response to the multi-thousand protest activity in the southeast of the country. There are reports that the new authorities sent special military units to the region, in order to quell the opposition to the unelected government of Ukraine.
According to the newspaper Vzglyad, the Donetsk protesters act swiftly – on Sunday, April 6, they took control of the administrative building, which houses the Donetsk Regional Council and Donetsk regional administration. And, on Monday, the protesters have created the so-called People’s Council and adopted a legal act to proclaim the People’s Republic of Donetsk. At the moment, the entrance to the building is barricaded with the old tires a few meters high.
“At all costs, Kiev will try to suppress us by force. But Kharkiv and Lugansk are the regions that are more in danger of suppression – in Donetsk, the situation is much more serious,” told to the newspaper Vzglyad a leader of the NGO “Donetsk Republic” and one of the organizers of the Donetsk anti-Maidan, Andrey Purgin, commenting on the eve of unrest erupted in eastern Ukraine.
Even if Moscow will not support the protesters, Purgin believes that his associates are not going to retreat. “It is necessary to fight for freedom, and we are going to fight for it, good or bad.”
“Kiev should react realistically, not like before when they came and took people – the leaders of cities [in southeast of Ukraine], who were elected by local residents – and took them to Kiev. This is the path to a further escalation of violence,” said in an interview with Vzglyad a first deputy chairman of the Duma’s Committee on International Affairs Leonid Kalashnikov (CPRF).
In any case, Kalashnikov is sure that “Kiev is not able to use force there. It can use force only partially, against the leaders. Because Kiev has no mass support among law enforcement in the southeastern regions.”
Also, Kalashnikov is certain that Russia cannot send troops to Donetsk. “So far, there is no reason for it, except for isolated cases that occur in relation to the leaders of various groups. Plus there are no constitutional and/or international legal grounds to do it,” concluded the source.
At the moment, the Parliament of Ukraine has registered a draft resolution to impose a state of emergency in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.
According to the Russian diplomats, in order to suppress the protests, the Kiev authorities mobilized not only National Guard, but also such an illegal armed group as the Right sector. In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that “in connection with this operation, there are about 150 American experts from the private military contractor Greystone Ltd., disguised as the soldiers of [Ukrainian] special purpose division Falcon.” At the same time, a source in the Ukrainian law enforcement agency confirmed this information, including the use of American mercenaries. “Their task – to quickly and firmly deal with the protesters,” said the source.
The Russian response didn’t wait for long. “We call to immediately cease any military preparations fraught with unleashing the civil war,” the Russian diplomats said in their statement.
Proclamation of the People’s Republic of Donetsk and appeal to Vladimir Putin to send the Russian peacekeeping contingent into the region had just opened the third phase of the battle for Ukraine. As was the case with the Crimea, so far there may be different scenarios. In any case, it is clear that Donbass is not going to use reverse and go back to where it was last month.
Dissatisfaction of residents of southeast with not only Ukrainisation or with collapse of the economy, but also with the choice of the Western vector of development, sooner or later will break the country. The question is whether this moment has come now? And what will Russia do?
Right now, it is impossible, in principle, to discuss whether the People’s Republic of Donetsk will be independent or it will join Russia, and whether Lugansk, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv will join it or not. The unitary Ukraine no longer exists, the federal one is yet to be created. The longer a pause between these two forms of its existence, the less chances of preservation of Ukraine. Nobody knows whether the Ukrainian Federation in a year will exist without the southeast, with the south but without the east, or will it be able to keep their current borders. In any case, the main problem of Russia as a big sister of Malorussiya [sic. the name of Ukraine is derived from a Slavic word meaning “borderline” or “periphery.” Furthermore, in the Russian Empire, Ukraine was known as Malorossiya, or “Little Russia”] is to make sure that the West had realized the futility of any attempt to complete “the abduction of Ukraine.” Once this happens, the Russians and Ukrainians will agree on their family relations themselves, without intermediaries and foreign puppets. If the West will understand it after Donetsk, then it is all good. If not – then, all roads lead to Kiev.