Ukraine: A Turning Point in the Revolution

Violence and political dissent stand out as the smoke clears.


Courtesy of Nikita Komaroff

Although tensions had been easing for days, yesterday evening Ukraine erupted in chaos as the pro-western Euromaidan movement battled with the notorious Berkut security forces and the Interior Ministry's troops. Twenty-six people are dead and over 1,000 individuals are injured. Ukraine's deadliest day has marked a turning point in the revolution. The protesters' ranks and armaments are growing, while some of President Viktor Yanukovych's defenses are waning.

So far, the fight has been generally lopsided. The government has reportedly used modified less-than-lethal weapons, such percussion grenades covered in nails, to inflict greater damage. They have also apparently used automatic rifles. Videos show militarized vehicles barreling through the streets.

The opposition has retaliated with far less firepower–mostly makeshift weapons like molotov cocktails and bricks.

"I am confident that today Maidan will be stripped," said Oleh Tsariov, a high-ranking member of President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions, as Berkut encircled the opposition last night.

That prediction didn't come true. In fact, Euromaidan has now seized government arms depots, according to The New York Times. And, although they sustained most of the injuries in yesterday's fight, literally busloads of citizens from other parts of the country are descending on the capital to join the fray.

"There can be no compromise with a dictator. [Yanukovych] must go," explained one armed protester to Mashable.

The unrest is not exclusive to Kiev, though. It has spread to 16 different cities. While government forces focus on the capital city, police stations have been set ablaze and government buildings seized around the country.

Courtesy of Nikita Komaroff

Anti-Yanukovych rhetoric is also gearing up among political figures and provoking dissent among the police.

Although opposition representatives like Vitali Klitschko have long advocated for a non-violent resolution and have previously made concessions for peace, they refused to bend to Yanukovych's demands yesterday that protesters abandon their stronghold. "We will not go anywhere from here," said Klitschko. "This is an island of freedom and we will defend it."

One minority member of parliament, Lesya Orobets, condemned the government's aggression, and called upon her countrymen: "Rise, Ukraine, Rise all Ukraine. A life without dignity is not worth living."

Lviv's mayor, a political independent, took a definite stance by openly urging the law enforcement in his city to "go out and use your weapons to protect the people – your relatives, neighbors, and friends."

Another parliamentary member claims that police officers in Kiev have already defected and opened fire on Berkut.

Meanwhile, at least 26 members of Yanukovych's party have fled the country.

For more Reason coverage on the Ukrainian Revolution, click here

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  1. When do they send in Ivan Drago to proclaim, quietly….”I must break you….”?

    1. Vitali “Dr. Ironfists” Klitschko fills that role already.

      1. Yeah, I read that and I was like, “the boxer?”

  2. “I want to be very clear as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we’re going to be watching closely and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protestors,” Obama said.
    “We’ve also said we expect peaceful protestors to remain peaceful, and we’ll be monitoring very closely the situation, recognizing that with our European partners and the international community there will be consequences if people step over the line.”

    Beware of the REDLINE

    1. whenever Obama opens his mouth regarding international affairs, I am reminded of Hugh Laurie’s performance in Sense and Sensibility.

      George: Oh, I say, that’s very clever. He really isn’t dead. (shouts and applauds) Oh Bravo! Bravo!
      Keanrick: (mutters to Mossop) Blast, the Prince likes it!
      Mossop: Oh shit, we’ll close tonight.

    2. Fuck you, asshole. I’ll be my own determiner of whether situations warrant “peace” or not.

    1. Good reminder, and ditto

      1. At least it sounds like Yanuchovych is in trouble. We’ll see how brutal he’s willing to be to stay in power.

  3. Speaking of Vitali Klitschko –

    looks like he was one hell of a boxer

    1. I always thought about Rocky IV (or whatever one he fought the Russian guy in) when I saw Klitschko.

      But yeah, dude was a badass.

  4. I wonder if the President of Ukraine is going to ask the fraternal Russian army to help suppress these wreckers.

    1. Maybe he will ask Putin to suppress the EU which is trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.

      The EU has never liked democracy

      1. Politics makes strange bedfellows, eh? Ukrainian nationalists advocating their country be ruled from Belgium.

        I suppose it’s better than being a satellite of Russia in the mold of Belarus.

        1. Here is the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. It puts the EU in charge of standards concerning politics, economics, immigration and other areas. The Ukraine will have to jump through EU hoops and in return they get nothing since they neither get money nor are they made part of the EU and don’t get even a small voice


          1. Actually the Ukraine would get Free Trade which is what this was all about. This is a free trade agreement.

            1. No it is not, its setting up a system where the Ukraine must meet EU standards on a broad host of items. It a step toward joining the EU and getting free trade, its not free trade and it will have no power over the EU while the EU has power over them

              Have you read the agreement?

              1. No but I would hardly trust your interpretation of it…which still sounds a lot like a trade agreement.

                1. That is why I posted the agreement, so others can read it.

                  And my interpretation of it is its a typical EU document filled with vague wording which the EU will then interprete to their benifit

                  Just like their Constitution/Treaty which they pushed through against the public vote

          2. In a vacuum, I would agree, the EU sucks and it’s a raw deal.

            The better option would be like Norway or Switzerland, stay independent.

            But do Ukrainians have the ability to stay like Finland in Russia’s orbit or do they end up like Belarus? I’m thinking Belarus. I’d probably go for the EU in that circumstance too.

            That’s the thing about being ruled by someone beholden to foreign interests. Putin doesn’t give a shit how many ukrainians he has to kill in the streets.

            He probably doesn’t care how many russians he has to kill in the streets but non-russians will get it twice as bad.

            1. However bad the EU is, the Customs Union equivalent would be like the same arrangement only ran by brutal russians instead of pomo bureaucrats.

              Oh, and also their future would linked economically to Belarus and Kazakhstan. That sounds like a good idea.

              1. Would you rather trade with Germany or Kazakhstan?

                1. How much gas and oil to keep you warm on a winter night does Germany have?

      2. a democratically elected government.

        This is the ‘I got more votes so I can oppress whoever I want’ theory of governance.

        EU which is trying to overthrow


        1. How are they oppressing people? Refusing to step down from government when you are elected is not surpressing people.

          Refusing to sign a one sided agreement with the EU is not surpressing people.

          Citation, the EU and its people have been in the middle of this since there agreement was turned down.

          1. How are they oppressing people?

            Holy shit are you for real? How about beating and murdering people for protesting? How about the years of corruption where Yanukovych’s friends can simply take your stuff away legally? Of course you don’t care and won’t let facts get in the way of your EU fever dreams.

            1. These people are not anti-government protesters. They want to be the government. They were the government after the last color coded revolution in Ukraine and the voters voted them out.

              EU fevered dreams. Was the Ukraine government democratically elected? If so what right does the EU have to encourage protestors to overthrow that government. Especially when that same EU has no problem making deals with the dictatorships in China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and others..

              And if you want to talk corruption, the EU along with the US has massive amounts of it. Just look at the various bailouts and who got the money and who got the bills.

              1. Because the The dictatorships the EU deal with dont have the power and inclination to come barreling across the plains and seizing half the continent. The EU has every realpolitik reason to check Putin’s Russia.

                But that’s not necessarily the issue for the Ukrainian people. The EU’s opinion isn’t what has the country on the verge of civil war. Obviously people all over ylthe country are totally pissed off. And they have every right to rebel just like we do. …so long as they win…

          2. Being in government is oppressing people.

            1. And the protestors want to be the new government.

          3. How are they oppressing people?

            Yeah democrat leaders who rework the constitution to give themselves more power and remake the state in an authoritarian fashion, because they won an election once, are a good idea.

            Worked great for Venezuela.

            It’s not like it usually ends with police murdering people in the streets.

            1. Like Madison and company?

              1. When Madison held onto personal power by essentially re-subjecting us to Great Britain, then that will make sense.

    2. Russian paramilitary forces that receive government funding have already crossed the border, according to The Daily Beast.

      1. Wonderful.

  5. Wow. This is a portrait I haven’t seen painted in other news sources. I hope it’s accurate.

  6. Euromaidan has now seized government arms depots

    No worries though the NYT and the BBC assure us that the government only has rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons.

  7. So this is happening. Not only is armed insurrection increasingly likely, a military conflagration in Eastern Europe is not out of the question.

  8. From what I have read, it sounds like niether side is really interested in liberty. The best course of action for an individual in the Ukraine would be to arm yourself to protect your family and property, but otherwise keep out of it and keep your head down.

    1. Alternative Ulster!


  9. Putin is going to invade if his puppets muck the job. It’s a national tradition he will be unable to ignore.

  10. I wish the lazy people of the United States would take a stand to take back what was once theirs!

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