Ukraine has launched what it’s calling an "anti-terrorist operation" against armed protesters in the country's Russian speaking east.
Ukraine’s interior minister is urging residents of Euronews)Slovyansk to stay inside their homes. This, after gunmen stormed a police headquarters. (Via
Similar scenes in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. This amateur video purports to show a shootout between police and the armed men that left at least one security officer dead. (Via YouTube / Arlo Givens)
It's hard to say for sure who these gunmen are. Kiev’s new government, along with its European allies, describe these unidentified men as pro-Russian activists armed with Russian-made guns and acting with the support of Moscow. (Via YouTube / ptixer , Jewish News One )
The BBC's David Stern reports one of the spokespeople for the activists in Donetsk told him they were working alongside the group of protesters 80 miles away in Slovyansk — and that would at least suggest the events in both cities were coordinated.
The unrest certainly echoes the events that led to Crimea's annexation a month ago.
And it's making Kiev more nervous — NATO says some 40,000 Russian troops are amassed on Ukraine’s eastern border, ready to move within 12 hours. Moscow says those troops are simply carrying out military exercises, and it has no plans to invade. (Via CBS)
The New York Times editorial board isn't so sure. It writes: "It is easy to imagine how secessionist demands in Donetsk, Kharkiv or Luhansk could turn violent, compelling Mr. Putin (or giving him a pretext) to make good on his pledge to 'defend' Russians in Ukraine."
Moscow did warn any attempt to use force on the protesters could undermine planned negotiations among the U.S., European Union, Russia and Ukraine scheduled for this week.