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Skirmishes in eastern Ukraine. Kiev reacts (Shift3)

MapEastUkraine - Annotated(BRUSSELS2) Incidents are increasing in eastern Ukraine. A " skirmish opposed to Kramatorsk (Donetsk oblast) unknown, who shot at the police », and she responded, specified the Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov on his Facebook page. An attack was carried out in Krasny Liman (Donetsk region) by militants “ equipped with AK-100 rifles, equipment that is only used in Russian forces » – he specifies, pushed back by the police forces. Others were carried out on Sunday morning in Kharkov and Mariupol.

The return of the “little green men”

We are thus witnessing the return of the “little green men” – this time rather in khakis – equipped with weapons – which are not quite the ones found in one’s attic – trained, disciplined and structured, equipped with uniforms but with hood or visible symbol (*). In short, they can be special forces soldiers (Interior or Army). But not only …

Professionals and “volunteers”

On this video lesson from a Ukrainian reporter broadcast by the BBC, we can clearly see that the technique of appropriation in the police station does not emerge from the “innateness” of each individual… However when we look at the longer version (5'46 here on our channel Youtube), we see that the atmosphere is slightly different. There is more unpreparedness: weapons deliberately pointed in the air and elements – a little undisciplined – called to order by older people. It feels more like a theater scene than a war scene – as in the extract broadcast by the BBC. The “orange and black” ribbon of St George – symbol of the Russian army – is clearly visible.

Russian aggression

The government of Ukraine “ consider these facts as actions by the Russian Federation, external aggression »said the Minister of the Interior. During a defense and national security council, urgently convened on Saturday, the forces of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine were then given the mission to carry out a “ operational response plan » to maintain order. And an " anti-terrorist action was launched this morning in Sloviansk with the forces of all units of the country – announced earlier. “ With God's help ! » he added.

(Shift1) NATO warns Russia to look for tensions, otherwise it will be isolated

On the NATO side, we reacted quickly on Sunday morning. “ I am extremely concerned about the escalation of tension in Eastern Ukraine » explained, in a press release sent to B2, NATO Secretary AF Rasmussen. “ We see a concerted campaign of violence (led) by pro-Russian separatists, aimed at destabilizing Ukraine as a sovereign state. The reappearance of men with specialized Russian weapons and identical uniforms without insignia, as previously worn by Russian troops during Russia's illegal and illegitimate seizure of Crimea, is a worrying development. “And to add:” I call on Russia to defuse the crisis and to withdraw its large number of troops, including special forces, from the area around Ukraine's border. Any further Russian military intervention, under any pretext, will only increase Russia's international isolation

Almost identical message from the European side which asks Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine.

Shortly after, the High Representative said that she was " seriously concerned by the surge in actions undertaken by armed individuals and separatist groups in several cities in eastern Ukraine. (…) The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission plays and must continue to play a crucial role in actively observing and reporting on these developments and thus contributing to preventing a further escalation of the situation. "" I reiterate the EU's strong support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and call on Russia to do the same. The Russian Federation is urged to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border and cease further actions aimed at destabilizing Ukraine She adds.

(Maj2) Kharkov City Hall liberated

Kharkiv City Hall was “ released by the police of unknown persons armed with batons and shields, who had tried to enter the building "said the Ukrainian Interior Ministry late Sunday evening. During the operation, a police officer was injured and sent to hospital.

And creation of special units

On Sunday evening, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced the creation of a “ police special units corps » based on citizen militia forces throughout the country. The Interior Ministry is ready to attract “ more than 12.000 people in these new special units”, to whom it will provide “ weapons, equipment, and supervision by active officers. » The first order on the establishment of a special force “East” was signed this Sunday, Luhansk, it is specified. “Virtually all regions will have the possibility of having such a stabilization unit. » The east of Ukraine will receive it as a priority (in Donetsk, Donbass, Dnepropetrovsk) as well as the south of the country (Nikolaev, Odessa, Kherson, Kharkov). Will come then the center and west of the country ».

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).