[“Ukraine forces in ‘full military readiness’ in case of Russia invasion” – Chicago Tribune 4.30.14]
The Chicago Tribune reports on ongoing unrest in eastern Ukraine, sustained by pro-Russian activists described by the U.S. Embassy as terrorists.
Ukraine promises that it is on full military alert against the prospect of a Russian invasion:
As pro-Russian separatists continued to make gains in their revolt against the government of Ukraine, Kiev said its military forces were on full alert in case of a Russian invasion, the country’s acting president said Wednesday.
“I once again return to the real danger of the Russian Federation beginning a land war against Ukraine,” Oleksander Turchinov said at a meeting of regional governors in Kiev, Interfax-Ukraine reported. “Our armed forces have been put on full military readiness.”
The West accuses Russia of fomenting the unrest in eastern Ukraine, with the intent of breaking up Ukraine.
Ukraine, a country of 45 million people the size of France, has a thousand-year history as a state but has spent much of the last few centuries under the shadow of its larger neighbor. It emerged as a modern independent nation after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, with borders drawn up by Bolshevik commissars from territory previously ruled by Russia, Poland and Austria.
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The United States and European Union accuse Moscow of directing the uprising with the intent of dismembering Ukraine.
U.S. and European officials reportedly have foresworn the prospect of Western military action, yet have gradually introduced sanctions, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to question the future of Russian energy contracts for Western businesses.
The United States has described pro-Russian hostage-taking and violence as terrorism:
The U.S. embassy in Kiev described the behavior of pro-Russian activists – who also attacked a rally of Kiev supporters on Monday with clubs and iron bars, and are holding dozens of hostages including seven unarmed European military monitors – as “terrorism, pure and simple”.