NATO-Moscow Face-offA month ago, once it became clear that Russia was on the cusp of taking possession of Crimea after having stage-managed a revolt by ethnic Russians with the aid of well-placed instigators uniformed with what looked suspiciously like Russian military gear, but missing identifying insignia, who led Ukrainian Russian militants to aggressive intimidation and violence, subduing all efforts of those Crimean Ukrainians who held no brief for secession, thousands of Russian flags appeared as though by magic in apartment windows.
Although Moscow has indulged in similar infiltrations tasking some members of their military to pose as 'pro-Russian' Ukrainians to be managed and led toward an effective revolt, ragingly violent enough to give second pause to the security forces that the government in Kyiv has sent in to pacify the situation, no flags have been appearing similarly flaunting Russian occupation in Donetsk. The sound and the fury is that furnished by a relatively limited number of Russophile Ukrainian groups of Russian ancestry.
In most of eastern Ukraine, there is tumult and pockets of violent thuggery intimidating the majority of the population to remain quiescent to their marauding take-overs of government buildings and municipal offices and police stations. Any who might venture to the task of objecting to the wholesale revolutionary zeal by the belligerent minority risk getting their heads smashed open. Once encountered, such violent incidents are to be avoided at all costs.
It's a dreadful pity that those costs include the possible loss of Ukrainian sovereignty to the Kremlin's sinister plans of annexation. Like two rutting, angry bull-animals Russia is facing off its armed forces on the border with Ukraine, with the assembled armed forces of NATO on the border with Russia. Canada has sent off a half-dozen CF-18 fighter jets to join the NATO aircraft gathering close to Russia's borders, causing concern to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The United States is sending around 600 troops into Central Europe to counter the roughly 40,000 that Russia has massed near the Ukrainian border. In the border town of Luhansk, the city hall and prosecutor's office have been seized by a small gang of 'activists', once a tense standoff lasting hours resulted in the police within withdrawing, as a much larger crowd surrounded the unfolding event, cheering on the pro-Russians.
The mayor of Kharkiv is fighting for his life in an Israeli hospital, shot in an assassination attempt by a sniper who aimed for the back of his head. In the regional capital of Donetsk a smaller group of separatists used bats and bricks to threaten, shout down, and beat a far larger group of peaceful protesters who were unarmed, and who made it clear that their wish is to remain within Ukraine. On that occasion as well, the outnumbered police fled leaving the thugs free to attack.
The relatively lightning-swift strikes that began with a coup in Kyiv and swiftly resulted in the secession of Crimea, show no signs of slowing down. A population that was for so long divided in their loyalties between Russia and the West, has solidified into hard positions of non-accommodation. The population that lived together in fairly universal harmony despite political differences is now completely sundered.
The temporary Kyiv government, hoping that the May election will give legitimacy to the new Ukraine, is functionally incapable of wresting control back from the pro-Russian demographic gone completely amok with rage against them, and their determination to leave the Ukrainian field and gift Russia with the geography they occupy, along, incidentally, with all those Ukrainians whose loyalty to Ukraine is a given, watered slightly by a yearning for more political authority.
Inciting mayhem by any and all means the violently pro-Moscow militants have sown disorder and criminal activities in uprooting law and order in the name of their self-appointed authority of the People's Republic of Donetsk, while Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov laments the United States and European Union's attempts to resurrect "the Iron Curtain", through additional anti-Russian sanctions.