Kyiv, April 7, 2014. The violent seizure of administrative buildings, demand for a local referendum, and the Russian tri-color being hoisted on top of the city council – these were the preliminary acts of Russia’s military intervention in Ukrainian Crimea not so long ago. Today, the same actions appear to mark a new stage of the Kremlin’s aggression against Eastern Ukraine, namely in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. The Crimean scenario is to unfold in Eastern Ukraine within the next 48 hours and Ukraine must react, warned former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in a statement today.
“If the subversive [who are currently seizing city councils in Eastern Ukraine – UCMC] hold their positions for 48 hours, Russian army will invade [continental Ukraine – UCMC]. This is exactly the same scenario which unfolded in Crimea: first – demonstration, and, in case it fails – the takeover [of city councils – UCMC] and Russian intervention”, cautioned Mikheil Saakashvili.
On April 6, 2014, during pro-Russian demonstrations in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk, local city administrations were taken over by separatists. In Donetsk, they raised a Russian flag on top of the city administration building. In addition, the pro-Russian separatists announced the establishment of “The Republic of Donetsk” and called for a local referendum on May 11, 2014. Moreover, separatists addressed officials of the Russian Federation and asked for “military support” in case the Ukrainian government decides to hamper the plebiscite.
“Any false call for federalization is a clear attempt of demolishing Ukraine’s sovereignty and a scenario written by RF””, stated Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the opening of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine session today. Its aim is to divide and change Ukraine into a slave-state, under the dictatorship of Vladimir Putin, he said, stressing that this would not happen. Yatsenyuk stated that what is happening now in Eastern Ukraine is a plan for Russia’s military intervention in continental Ukraine.
Commenting on the events in eastern Ukraine, acting Foreign Minister Deshchytsya said that the head of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Lavrov had repeatedly stated that his country had no intention of sending its troops to the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. And yet, despite assurances to the contrary, there has been no radical change in the quantity of Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders in the past week. Moreover, according to some intelligence reports, military exercises of tank and motorized infantry units have just started in the Voronezh region of the Russian Federation, just 50 km [31 miles – UCMC] away from the Ukrainian border.
The Ukrainian government has been taking seriously the events in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s First Vice-Prime Minister together with the heads of the Security Service and the National Security and Defence Council have departed to those regions to monitor the separatists’ actions and to try to normalize the situation there.
These events are occurring at a breakneck speed and Ukraine has to undertake immediate action to prevent the playing out of a Crimean scenario and incurring the loss of another region. “Now the main thing is full mobilization to defend the Eastern borders of Ukraine”, warned Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili.