Approximately 70 “Pro-Russian militants” wearing Russian military camouflage uniforms, a dozen of them armed with Kalashnikovs, seized the police station in Sloviansk, a city of 125,000 people in Donetsk Oblast. Militants have attempted to storm the police station in Shaktarsk and the general prosecutor’s office, also in Donetsk, but failed.
The 2001 Ukrainian National Census confirms that more than 38.2% of the population in the Donetsk Oblast are from Russian ethnic groups. During the same year, the census display a language spoken statistics of 74.9% speaking Russian while 24.1% speaks Ukrainian.
Dmitry Tymchuk, an ex-Ukrainian army colonel, currently heads a non-partisan (obviously nationalist) network of Ukrainian ex-military, journalists and academics aiming to disseminate information about what’s happening there. Intpol experts say it’s worth reading, although some of the information he disseminates lacks secondary confirmation (understandable in a context where they may be hard to verify). He wrote on his Facebook page last week that the Russian military was sending directives to their Russia coordinators.
As reported by us already: according to our data, the separatists received directives from their Russian coordinators to provide a “corridor” at the Ukrainian border for the entry of Russian troops. According to information as of 9:00 pm [Ukrainian time], the “corridor” should be organized in Luhansk oblast [region]. If this scenario is successful, then we will have the “Crimean option.” With one key difference: our law enforcement, border control, special forces and the army are here, are not without their problems, but are ready to counteract [the invader].
The mayor of Sloviansk, Nellie Shtepa, made an appearance at the police station and said “I support you.” She is known to actively oppose the EuroMaidan Revolution.
A group of about 150 people supporting the armed militants crowded together near the Sloviansk police station where many shouted “Donbass is Russia” and “Sloviansk is a Russian city.” They also worked on the fortification of the perimeter around the police station using sandbags, tires and everything they could put their hands on.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry vowed that a tough response is coming from Ukrainian authorities.
“Stop bringing militants onto the streets, stop calling for violence and aggression, stop provoking clashes! The Interior Ministry will give a tough response to manifestations of deliberate destabilization, public order violations and mass disturbances across Ukraine, especially in the regions where special operations are under way to settle the situation and suppress manifestations of separatism: the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions. Anyone violating the law will be arrested regardless of their declared slogans and party allegiance and have their measure of responsibility established by a court,” the statement said
The armed militants were very hostile to journalists present around the police station shouting “Go back to Kyiv” and “You have no business here” to them.
The Sloviansk police chief is currently holding negotiations with the armed men barricaded in the police station.
More buildings could be targeted by the militants during the week in both Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast.
The situation continues to become increasingly tense, more updates soon.
(Featured Image Courtesy: AP)
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