In Digest, Ukraine

By New Cold War.org editors, Jan. 4, 2015. Adapted from an article in TV Vezda (Russian Armed Forces), Jan 3, 2015 (see Russian original for photo gallery)

Soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine have begun to patrol the streets of Odessa. Authorities say the move is “to prevent terrorist attacks in the city”. But many bloggers in the city are writing that the move is in response to rising social protests.

Residents of a district of southwest Odessa city protest continued electricity service cuts, on Dec 31, 2014, photo by Timer News

Residents of a district of southwest Odessa city protest continued electricity service cuts, on Dec 31, 2014, photo by Timer News

For example, a key social grievance to emerge in Odessa since the onsete of winter is the frequent cuts to electrical service. On New Year’s Eve, residents of a district in the southwest of the city blocked traffic on major arterial routes (see photo). Only emergency vehicles were allowed to pass. Residents told a reporter with Timer they have been without electricity for most of the preceding three days.

According to the local television channel TSN, two truck columns of National Guard soldiers entered Odessa on Jan. 3. According to the Ukrainian newspaper Duma, the National Guard soldiers arrived at the city’s railway station. At the request of the Odessa police, they will take part in patrols and so-called “anti-terrorist operations” in the city.

“I assure you that law-abiding citizens in this situation have nothing to fear – these people are taking to the streets to protect you from the terrorist threat. In the past month in the city, there were five terrorist attacks, the last of which killed some people”, said Ivan Katerynchuk, head of the regional department of the Ministry of the Interior.

“In the streets of the regional center, there will be significant movements of special police and military cargo vehicles, with people equipped with automatic weapons. On-duty police officers will stop and check suspicious persons, including inspection of personal belongings”, said a statement by Odessa police.

The Ukrainian edition of Liga Novosti reports that the decision to increased patrols in the city was taken after an explosion near a residential house on Szeged St. in Odessa which killed a man carrying explosives. There have been several explosions in the region in recent months. In September, saboteurs blew up a railway track. In October, a young man detonated a grenade in an Odessa bar. In December, there were three explosions – in a shop, at an extreme-right organizing center collecting materiel for the war in eastern Ukraine, and in the headquarters of the Council of Public Security.

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Interfax Ukraine, meanwhile, is reporting that travel between the Donbas region and Ukraine is being tightly restricted henceforth. The move will discourage travel and will place greater economic and social pressure on Donbas, where the Kyiv government has already cut the funding and supplying of pensions and social services.

See also:
Ukraine anti-fascists on trial as resistance grows in Odessa region, by Greg Butterfield, Dec 16, 2014

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