The truce in East Ukraine has been shattered. Unknown gunmen drove up to a checkpoint manned by separatist protestors in Sloviansk and opened fire. There are conflicting reports of casualties, with BBC and the Kyiv Post reporting three deaths while RT reporting five. BBC:
TV pictures showed what was described as the aftermath of an attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint at about 01:00 local time (22:00 on Saturday GMT), including the body of a man under a cover.
The BBC is unable to verify the footage. However, a Reuters journalist at the scene reported seeing two bodies in a truck.
Daylight Reuters TV footage of the scene shows several burnt-out vehicles.
The Russian foreign ministry said the Ukrainian far-right group Right Sector was behind the attack. A business card with the name of its leader Dmytro Yarosh appeared in the unverified Russian TV pictures.
The Right Sector denies involvement in the attack. They say that this was a false flag operating by Russian Special Operations Forces. However, if they are going to make allegations of this nature, then let them come forward with the evidence to back such claims. Otherwise, such claims can be dismissed as war propaganda designed to inflame the situation.
More war propaganda from the Ukrainian government:
Meanwhile in an interview to be aired in full later on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to "restore the Soviet Union".Again, if Ukraine's government has intelligence that Putin's actions are part of a plan to restore the old Soviet Union, let them come forward with the evidence. Otherwise, this, like other such allegations, can only be dismissed as war propaganda. Truth is the first casualty in war.
If Mr Putin succeeded, Mr Yatsenyuk says, it would be "the biggest disaster of this century".
The deaths came after a night attack on a protester checkpoint on the outskirts of the city. Four cars drove by the checkpoint and opened fire at the local residents manning it, killing two people and seriously injuring several others.
“They approached with their high beam headlamps on. Our man went to them and asked not to blind us, show IDs and open the trunk for inspection. Then an assault rifle got stuck out of the window and he was gunned down,” an eyewitness, Vladimir, told RT.
As the civilians were pinned down, a group of 20 protesters with firearms came from the city. They opened fire on the attackers, killing two of them and sent the rest running. Five attackers were injured by the retaliating forces, protest leader, Vyacheslav Ponomaryev, said.RT says that one man was detained and quotes self-defense squad members as saying that he admitted he was part of Right Sector.
Later on Sunday the protesters claimed they had detained one of the perpetrators who confessed he was from the Right Sector.RT posts pictures of a medallion that they say implicates Right Sector in the attacks. They also post other contraband that was seized after the attacks.
“The young man lost his squad and was trying to flee Slavyansk hitch-hiking towards Kharkov,” one of the self-defense members told RIA Novosti. The detainee is 22 years old. He said he came from the Vinnitsya region to Kiev for the EuroMaidan protests and there he joined the Right Sector.
The government is seeking to bring back former Berkut members into the service, which RT says means that the government simply doesn't have enough men to keep order.
Kyiv Post identifies one of the people killed.
Local witnesses said four cars drove up to the checkpoint with headlights on and opened fire at the pro-Russian militiamen guarding it, killing Serhiy Rudenko, a local school bus driver.One Russian dissident commentator, Andrey Illarionov, says that the Geneva Accord marks a betrayal that he says is even worse than Munich.
Rudenko, born in 1954, was a local pro-Russian activist and one of those who built a barricade in his village and spent a lot of his time guarding it.
Anatoliy Kurochka, his neighbor, says he knew the victim for years. “I have known him since childhood. He built this barricade, and has been there from the first day," Kurochka says. “He wanted to defend us, he did not want us to be shot by people coming from western Ukraine.”
As bad as the Munich accord of 1938 was – and it has long been a synonym for the appeasement of an aggressor — the Russian commentator continues, at least the Czechoslovaks at that time were not forced to participate in it and agree to the dismemberment and redesign of their country. And because Czechoslovakia was not invited to Munich, its people considered that they had been betrayed. Now, Illarionov suggests, Ukrainians must “wake up” to the horrible reality that they have been betrayed not just by the West but by their own government and are now very much on their own.He gives many more reasons to support his position. But Eric Draitser of Stop Imperialism says that it is a question of whether the West really wants deescalation.
In his words, the accord shows that “Putin has received everything he wanted” or “even more,” the commentator says, and then outlines his reasons for that devastating conclusion.
First, he says, “Ukraine has de facto agreed to ‘foreign administration’” because it has agreed that outside forces, the West and Russia, even though both have failed to fulfill their obligations under the Budapest Memorandum, the West by backing away from insisting that Russia respect it and Russia by openly violating it.
What we are seeing from the framework agreement that was issued from Geneva, there seems to be an attempt from the Russian side and at least to some degree from the US side to deescalate the tensions and to deescalate the situation generally. However, on the other hand you do see a ratcheting up of these tensions with regard to the sanctions, but not exclusively the sanctions.
We should also remember that we have heard very bellicose statements from NATO General Secretary Rasmussen regarding the deployment of additional fighter jets and additional NATO forces into the Baltic region and into Eastern Europe more generally. We have heard very bellicose statements coming from John Kerry regarding this trumpet charges and anti-Semitism going on in Donetsk, we have heard very significant negative political and diplomatic statements coming from the West that makes a lot of people, myself included, question to what degree the US and the West is really genuine in this agreement coming out from Geneva and to what extent they really want to see tensions de-escalated.