Posted by Curt on 21 February, 2014 at 3:52 pm. 4 comments already!



The comment counts on our Ukraine threads make me think some readers have tuned out this story. Now’s the moment when you’ll want to tune in.

If what The Interpreter’s hearing is true, Yanukovych has left Kiev for the city of Kharkiv. Maybe that’s because he’s lost control of the capital or maybe, as the State Department claims, he’s gone to Kharkiv to, ahem, shore up support. Either way, though, there’s no scenario where the government simply abdicates and the opposition takes over. Russia won’t relinquish the country that easily. So either things are about to get even rougher in Kiev as Putin fills the power vacuum or Yanukovych is planning a new move. What does that mean? Naval War College prof John Schindler fears the worst:

Here’s the latest from a story highlighted by The Interpreter:

Tomorrow President Viktor Yanukovych will take part in a Congress of the “Ukrainian Front” which is being organised by the Kharkiv governor, Mikhail Dobkin.

Sources at Kharkiv airport told Hvilya that the aeroplane carrying Yanukovych will land in Kharkiv within half an hour.

Furthermore, our sources in the Presidential Administration reported that all of the most combat ready of the Berkut and army forces have been transferred to Kharkiv and the southeast.

There is, in theory, a deal between Yanukovych and the opposition to reform the government, but Russia’s apparently not interested and neither are the Euromaidan protesters. They want Yanukovych to resign; meanwhile, the woman he defeated for the presidency four years ago could be out of prison within the next few days and ready to help lead the opposition. All the makings of civil war are present, in other words, from powerful national sponsors to ethnic tensions between Russian descendants living in the country and native Ukrainians. Someone just needs to give the word, whether Yanukovych or his boss. And even if Yanukovych resigns, depriving Putin of his proxy, the word may still come down. That’s what “Little Russia” means to Moscow.

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