Russia Today reports that police in Kiev have the Right Sector headquarters surrounded after one of its members instigated a shootout that injured three people.
Kiev’s ‘Dnepr’ hotel, which serves as headquarters for the Right Sector movement, has been surrounded by police after members of the group retreated there following a shootout in the center of Ukraine’s capital, not far from the landmark Maidan (Independence Square).This is a welcome sign that the government is doing its job and cracking down on its extremists. Russia has complained all along that Ukraine is infested with Neo-Nazis and extremists and that Ukraine does not have a legitimate government. Putin went so far as to tell George W. Bush in 2008 that Ukraine is not a country. The challenge for Ukraine now is to prove Putin wrong. It seems that they are doing so by cracking down on its extremists.
Earlier, a Right Sector member opened fire by the ‘Mafia’ restaurant on the Kreschatyk Street, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov stated on his Facebook page. All of the injured have been transferred to hospital, two of them sustained serious wounds. The suspect has been detained.
Kiev city administration confirmed that deputy mayor Dubas was injured, adding that he just happened to be passing by in the area at the moment of the shootout. The other injured were members of Maidan self-defense force.
Now, it's Russia's turn. Russia, over the past couple of days, has taken some welcome steps in easing the tensions between the two countries. But they have not done enough. They must do more -- they must live by the same standards that they expect Ukraine to follow. They must reign in their own extremists.
The Security Service of Ukraine said on March 31 that it had stopped a Russian man who investigators believe was planning to forcibly take over government buildings in Kyiv in an effort to destabilize the country.The Russian government is responsible for the actions of its own extremists. Russia has already committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to the present conflict. Now, they must follow through with these promises by reigning in extremists like this whose goal is to create conflict between the two countries. Most people on both sides do not want war between Russia and Ukraine. But if the Russian government gets hijacked by extremists like the man who was arrested, or Ukraine allows far-right elements to become Prime Minister in the next election, then the worst-case scenario will develop -- a state of perpetual warfare in which neither side can win.
Ukraine's security service, known by the acronym SBU, said in a statement on its website that it had detained Oleg Bakhtiyarov, a leader of the extremist Eurasian Youth Union of Russia, for allegedly planning to storm the country's parliament and Cabinet of Ministers buildings in Kyiv by force.
The Eurasian Youth Union, a Russian political organization and youth wing of the radical Eurasia Party, has been banned from Ukraine for carrying out acts of vandalism reported to be anti-Ukrainian.
The SBU said that Bakhtiyarov, working under the guise of a civil society activist in Kyiv, had recruited some 200 people to assist in storming the buildings and had stockpiled Molotov cocktails and various tools to carry out the provocation. He was also in possession of an undisclosed amount of cash.
"O.Bahtiyarov promised participants of the assault a cash reward up to $500 each," reads the SBU statement.
The longer that Ukraine buys itself time to build up its forces and clamps down on its extremists, the less likely that Russia can wrest any more territory away from Ukraine or invade and occupy it. Alexander Motyl, writing in World Affairs Journal, writes:
Attali appears to be blithely unaware of the consequences of such land grabs. Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, and Kazakhs will resist. There will be war in much of Eurasia, along with tens of thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees. And every country on Russia’s borders will promptly engage in a military buildup.If Russia invades at some point in the future, not only will Ukraine resist, other countries will arm themselves so that a Russian invasion would become even more difficult. On Friday, before he called President Obama, Putin met with his generals (there were pictures of him shaking hands with them). Bear in mind that Russia's defense minister told our Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that Russia would not be attacking Ukraine. I suggest that these generals told Putin that an invasion and occupation of the rest of Ukraine would be a costly proposition. And Putin listened -- unlike Hitler, he is one of those people who never engages in battles unless he knows he can win easily. For Putin, a lifelong KGB man, the battle is won before the shots are ever fired. Sending in the troops is simply a matter of sealing the final victory.
Putin's problem is that he may have won a province, but he lost a country.
When Vladimir Putin seized Crimea, he lost Ukraine. He had slandered the Ukrainian protest movement as variously fascist, decadent, and gay. Then he went beyond that, to claim that the interim government that the protesters had helped bring into being was planning to persecute Russian speakers in Crimea and elsewhere. Finally he insulted a neighbouring country that had no way of defending itself by seizing its land.In other words, he may have won Crimea, but he has forfeited any further influence with Ukraine. And he has forfeited influence around the world as well.
He thereby confirmed the alienation of people in the western part of the country from their historic Russian connection. He enraged the liberals, both Ukrainian and Russian in background, who valued the relative freedoms that Ukraine had raggedly preserved even as those freedoms dwindled in the Russian Federation.
He divided and confused people in the centre and east who preferred the ambiguity, and the sophistication, on the issue of identity that enabled them to live together. When Crimea was separated from Ukraine, Ukraine was separated from Russia, not for ever, because certain deep links remain, but for the foreseeable future. This is the dominant fact that the United States and European countries must keep in mind as they shape their policies on the crisis that the Russian leader created by his action on Crimea.
Russia's role in international affairs is diminished, at least temporarily. Moscow has been de facto excluded from the Group of Eight industrialized powers. Its bids to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy Agency are frozen. Western summits with Moscow are canceled until further notice.
President Vladimir Putin's attempt to use the BRICS group of emerging powers to mitigate isolation by the West faltered over Chinese and Indian unease at the Crimean precedent for disputes about Tibet and Kashmir. A joint BRICS statement condemned sanctions but made no mention of Crimea or Ukraine.
Just when it looked to be losing relevance as its mission in Afghanistan limps to a close, the U.S.-led military alliance is back in business. An increase in allied air patrols and war games showing the flag in Poland and the Baltic states is on the agenda, and Warsaw wants faster deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in central Europe.If Putin wishes to regain it, he must live by the same standards that he set for the rest of the world and respect international law and human rights.
Under U.S. pressure, some European countries may rethink cuts in defense spending. Neutral Sweden and Finland, perceiving Russia anew as a potential threat, may increase security efforts and cooperate more closely with NATO.