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Clocks keep ticking away minutes of violent radical standoff in Ukraine

January 22, 2014, 18:05 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, January 22./ITAR-TASS/. Media reports from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the past three days slightly differ from reports made from the so-called “hot spots” around the globe. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed on Wednesday that two people died of gun wounds in central Kiev. Today Ukrainian radicals and policemen practically clashed in hand-to-hand combat at noon in Kiev.

Hundreds of stout young people equipped with helmets, shields, bulletproof vests and armed with Molotov cocktails and chunks of concrete are battling law enforcers from the special-task police unit Berkut in Grushevsky Street, located near the governmental buildings. It will be impossible to imagine such scene in any other European capital.

There is no way calling those combat groups of radicals as supporters of Ukraine’s European integration.

Activists of new ultranationalist formation “Right Sector” ignored calls from the leaders of the parliamentary opposition to refrain from violence and called in turn for a “national revolution.” They explain their vicious clashes with law enforcers with the necessity to “withstand the dictatorship.”

Speaking about the “dictatorship” they imply new laws, which were passed this month by the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and stipulate a criminal responsibility for violations of public order.

According to the Kommersant daily, the Right Sector radical formation was made up of Ukraine’s nationalist movements Trizub, UNA-UNSO, Patriot Ukrainy, Svoboda political party and many more. The Right Sector is headquartered on the fifth floor of the Trade Union building, which was earlier seized by opposition forces. Issues of radical newspaper Banderovets, named after Stepan Bandera, last century’s ideologist of Ukrainian nationalism, and leaflets reading “The Will or Death” are at dispense for a visitor at the building.

Andrei Tarasenko, a representative of the Right Sector, told the Kommersant daily that “We are backed by nationalists, football fans, activists from Western Ukraine as well as from Kiev.” The interview was interrupted by incoming order on his walkie-talkie commanding him to “Immediately move to Grushevsky Street!”

The Right Sector made it clear to the Ukrainian people that it did not share the same path with the opposition. The formation’s manifesto urges “punishment of all traitors under the laws of a revolution,” views as “hostile” all those, who “intends to restrain the revolutionary energy of people by turning the national-liberation war into ‘dancing’ or ‘standing’ protests or begins negotiations with interior occupants on the so-called ‘peace and composure.’”

Radicals no more listen or respect leaders of the opposition, including Oleg Tyagnobok, the leader of nationalist political party Svoboda. They emptied fire extinguishers on the head of opposition political party Udar, Vitali Klitschko, last Sunday, when stood between the lines of police and rioters in a bid to stop the violence.

In an interview with Itar-Tass, Fyodor Lukyanov, the chairman of the Russian Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, said “(Ukrainian President Viktor) Yanukovich has disoriented both the Ukrainian elite and the society with his winding line of approach.”

“In times of disorientation, the most radical forces always take the lead with the simplest slogans,” the expert said adding that in his opinion the Ukrainian authorities are capable of “curbing the recent wave of tensions, but it would be only a tactical success.”

“Nobody knows what the authorities in Kiev want in terms of strategy,” Lukyanov concluded.

Sergei Kulik, the director for International Development at the Russian Institute of Contemporary Development, told Itar-Tass that the “Ukrainian authorities must act harshly against radicals and protect the government.”

“The recently introduced laws on the fight against public disorders grant the authorities in Kiev the right to fight extremists. It is a different case that the law did not gain support from the Ukrainian society. We are talking, however, of not hitting radicals in their heads, but about more accurate measures to neutralize extremists,” Kulik said.

“I see no trace of Washington or Brussels behind the recent events in Kiev. The West absolutely does not need a civil war in Ukraine. The European Union’s mistake is that while it backed up moderate supporters of the European integration, it did not sift out hawkish tough guys from nationalist movements,” the expert said.

“Apparently Viktor Yanukovych decided to show the West the real face of the ‘European integration supporters,’ who wear masks and helmets as well as use clubs and Molotov cocktails,” Kulikov said explaining the current inactivity of the Ukrainian authorities against the radicals.

The expert concluded that “Yanukovich is waiting for the moment when the melting pot is about to boil over so that he will not be later blamed for the necessary harsh measures.


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