The Ukrainian uprising of its citizens couldn’t come at worst time for Russian hosting the Olympics in Sochi. Although there has been mixed signals from Russian President Vladimir Putin as to Russian options to intervene, it’s doubtful any military moves will be made while the world is watching their Olympics.
Besieged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has made non-lethal moves to stop the growing insurgency. He has granted his army and local police with unprecedented powers after a region declared independence from his government.
Most experts see no sign of compromise in the near future.
The Russian-backed leader’s security service is bulking up their forces since the bloodiest of the riots began three months ago. President Yanukovvych said Wednesday that the country is undertaking a nationwide anti-terrorism operation to restore order and protect their borders from unseen enemies.
Although Martial Law has not been implemented, the military has the right to search, detain, and even fire on Ukrainians in the course of the operation, the Defense Ministry said.
After these actions, Yanukovych promptly dismissed army chief Volodymyr Zaman, replacing him with the head of the navy. No reason for the dismissal was provided.
Oleksiy Melnyk, an analyst at the Razumkov Center in Kiev said, "Imposing martial law requires parliament’s approval, but an anti-terrorist operation can be declared simply by informing the president Authorities now have the right to arrest people, search homes, and a whole range of other things in a way that would otherwise be illegal. The leader of the operation’s name is secret, and all involved get immunity."
In the Ukraine, anti-terrorism operations allow the uniformed soldiers to legally search civilian vehicles and stop car and prevent pedestrian traffic. The “security service” said in their own statement that protesters have seized more than 1,500 guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition from military bases, depots, and government buildings, without elaborating.
There has been no independent verification of that statement.
President Barack Obama has warned the country’s leaders that "there will be consequences," whatever that truly means. Military force by the U.S. has already been ruled out. But the president added that the Russian military should not step into the situation and that civilians should be involved.
The military (secretly) is already heavily involved, civilians are on the run and Russian direct intervention is a distinct possibility.
* If you have enjoyed this column, may I suggest you scroll down this page and press the SUBSCRIBE box? It's FREE. Thank you for your patronage.
** Send your comments to: email@example.com