China-Ukraine: China's Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said on Saturday that China backs International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial aid for Ukraine. However, China worries about the IMF's lending capacity given the failure of the US Congress to ratify a program of reforms for the institution.
Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao made the remarks on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.
Comment: The irony in the Vice Minister's statement is that the IMF's harsh requirements for economic structural and fiscal reforms contributed largely to former president Yanukovych's rejection of the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.
Ukraine has reneged on three prior IMF bailout plans becasue of the rigor of IMF reform requirements, prompting the IMF to suspend funds.
The Vice Minister's comments appear intended to highlight the irony by implication.
Ukraine-Russia: Russia requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 13 April after Ukrainian security forces clashed with armed pro-Russian activists in the eastern town of Slovyansk.
Russia's UN ambassador Vitaliy Churkin called on Kiev to "start a genuine dialogue". He said that there are neo-Nazis and anti-Semites within the ranks of what he called "the self-proclaimed government in Kiev."
"The henchmen of Maydan (the pro-Western Ukrainian protest movement) must stop attacking their own people."
Ukraine: The security situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorated over the weekend.
Kharkiv. Individuals within a crowd of some 1,000 pro-Russia protesters broke into a municipal administration building in Kharkiv on 13 April. Later the regime claimed to have recovered the building.
Slovyansk. One Ukrainian security officer was killed on 13 April and nine were wounded when Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with pro-Russia activists.
Comment: Ukrainian authorities launched a so-called "anti-terrorist operation" in Slovyansk, after about 70 pro-Russia activists seized police and security services building. The operation failed.
Pro-Russian Activists Seizing More Government Buildings
Kramatorsk. Pro-Russia activists occupied a police station in Kramatorsk over the weekend.
Luhansk. Pro-Russia activists still occupy government buildings. No change.
Donetsk. Men wearing the uniforms of Ukraine's now-defunct, paramilitary riot police seized the police headquarters Donetsk on 12 April, the city's mayor said. Pro-Russia activists also took over the City Council building in Makiivka, a city located about 10 miles from Donetsk.
Comment: Ukrainian paramilitary police units were disbanded by the Kiev regime because they were loyal to Yanukovych. All of them in Crimea and many of the men in other eastern Ukrainian towns have sided with the pro-Russia activists.
Mariupol. More than 20 people were seriously injured in clashes in Mariupol today between defenders of the city directorate for Internal Affairs and pro-Russia activists, Ukrainian press reported.
Comment: The regime in Kiev failed to attack Luhansk and Donetsk after the passage of the ultimatum on Friday. Instead regime acting prime minister Yatsenyuk went to Donetsk where he promised greater autonomy and talks.
A division between the politicians and police leadership in Kiev emerged over the weekend. Yatsenyuk has tried to avoid using force, despite the issuance of an ultimatum for the activists to vacate the buildings they seized. That is why he went to Donetsk. Use of force against Ukrainians is what triggered the ouster of Yanukovych's government.
Interior Minister Avakov appears to be the hardliner. He is the man who issued the 48 hour ultimatum last week that Yatsenyuk failed to honor. He issued another ultimatum for 0600 GMT on Monday, the 14th.
Two final points. All the towns that the pro-Russia activists have seized lie astride main highways into eastern and southeastern Ukraine from Russia. Mariupol, for example, is the first major Ukrainian city on the coastal road that heads west to Crimea, after leaving Russia.
The effect of the town hall and police station seizures in widely separated towns is to stretch Ukraine's security resources. Both effects look deliberate and well-planned.
Crackdown announced. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said he was creating new units of more than 12,000 civilians in eastern towns, equipped and led by police officers.
Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said in a televised address on Sunday, "The National Security and Defense Council has decided to launch a large-scale antiterrorist operation with participation of the army forces of Ukraine….We won't allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of the country."
The Ukrainian government said it was sending a reserve battalion of 350 fighters fresh from National Guard training to the east.
Russian reaction. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich, speaking by telephone to state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24 on 13 April, read a strongly-worded statement on Ukraine.
He said: "The developments in the southeast of Ukraine are assuming an extremely dangerous character.
"The Kyiv authorities, which proclaimed themselves as a result of a coup d'etat, set the course for suppressing by force the people's protests that were a reaction to complete disregard for the lawful interests of the inhabitants of southeastern regions, to direct threats and violence against all those who disagree with the dominance of national radicals, with chauvinistic, Russophobic and anti-Semitic actions of the coalition that enthroned in Kyiv with direct support from the USA and the European Union.
"We resolutely condemn attempts to use brute force against the protesters and activists, with the use of Right Sector combatants and other illegal armed formations.
"Turchynov's criminal order to use the army to suppress protests causes particular indignation. Blood has already been spilt in the Southeast as a result of actions of this kind.
"We demand that the men of Maydan who overthrew the legitimate president of Ukraine should immediately stop the war against their own people and fulfil all their obligations under the 21 February agreement. The "Maydaners'" Western sponsors, particularly those who witnessed the said agreement, and the USA who is behind them, must rein in their protégés who have gone out of control, force them to dissociate themselves from neo-Nazis and the rest of the extremists, stop using the armed forces against the Ukrainian people, and immediately start a genuine national dialogue with the full participation of all regions in the interests of carrying out a radical constitutional reform as soon as possible.
"It is on the West that the possibility of avoiding civil war in Ukraine now depends.
"The Russian side is submitting the crisis situation in the southeast of Ukraine for urgent consideration by the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
Comment: Russia's UN ambassador and the Foreign Ministry statement used the word,Russophobia" to describe Ukraine's minority policy.
The regime in Kiev should have learned from the overthrow of Yanukovych that use of force that fails has a backfire effect that weakens the regime trying to use force. If the latest security operation fails, the ultra-nationalists in Kiev are likely to be tempted to take control.
More importantly the Kiev regime persists in taking actions that are likely to worsen the crisis. They almost invite Russian military intervention.
End of NightWatch
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