18 February 2014

Ukraine Descends Into Low-Level Civil War,
Tanks Seen Moving Through Kiev Metro...

If you've been behind on this one, basically the country was about to enter a free-trade agreement with the EU, but Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's last-minute visit to the Kremlin in December altered his thinking dramatically on the very eve of the EU signing -reportedly through some combination of trade incentives and threats- and he made a prompt u-turn towards Putin's CIS instead.

This didn't go over well at all with the populace -in particular the country's western-looking youth- and it has slowly built towards the low-boil street war we see today. And now it's getting worse in a hurry.

The anti-government, pro-EU protest movement is headed by former World Heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko., who seems to have done a fairly deft job of not offending the country's 17+% (economically influential) Russian speakers in his statements, positions, and demands upon the government, so his support is fairly widespread by all accounts.

But on this same day that a fresh amnesty deal released all political prisoners taken in during the protests, instead of some reconciliation or even break in the fighting we see escalation, as the enraged protesters have re-occupied the Kiev City Hall they retreated from two days ago.

Ukrainian Interior Ministry personnel injured in Kiev street battle

Today has brought three more dead as government forces broke-down walls and into an opposition encampment in Kiev. The troubled country's capitol is the primary hot-spot, and I just picked-up the (tanks) photo above from a witness
on-site.... looks like trouble.

And while the US is not going to supply arms or bomb Ukrainian military installations, it sure would be nice if we had a president that the Russians felt compelled to listen to, rather than snicker at... our influence is non-existent:

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