If Putin says Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, it must be true. He won’t say it, but he must know exactly what’s going on in the Eastern regions where armed groups have seized official buildings and weaponry and are asking for independence from Kiev and even the annexation to the Russian Federation, as Crimea did.
Reuters distributed early today some pictures of armed men in military fatigues, wearing black and orange ribbons of St. George – a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, driving six airborne combat vehicles with separatists flags entering Kramatorsk, the city where Ukrainian troops liberated yesterday the airport. So Kiev has not only a bunch of protesters with light weapons assaulting buildings and self proclaiming independent people’s republics, but something bigger to confront.
Kiev’s plan to defuse the unrest in the East, gradually without a bloodshed, seems unrealistic. But for them is essential, first because nobody wants a bloodshed. Second, because the Russian troops are too near at the other side of the border and Putin has an authorisation of the Duma to use force in Ukraine if he considers it necessary to “protect” the Russian speaking citizens. Third, because doing nothing is not an option if they want to show at least an appearance of authority over the country.