Skip to comments.Ukraine: Security forces abandon Mariupol ahead of referendum
Posted on 05/10/2014 2:30:14 PM PDT by kronos77
Ukraine's security forces allowed pro-Russian protesters to rule the streets of the second-biggest city in Donetsk region on Saturday as the self-styled "People's Republic" prepared for Sunday's referendum on independence. The withdrawal followed one of the bloodiest military operations of the crisis, when the National Guard used heavy machine guns mounted on BMP combat vehicles to bombard the police headquarters in the city of Mariupol, driving out a group of insurgents. This battle on Friday claimed at least five lives and possibly more than 20. But on Saturday the security forces vanished from the centre of Mariupol, taking up station at a handful of checkpoints on the city's periphery and leaving the city itself, with 500,000 people, under the de facto control of pro-Russians. Many fear that Sunday's referendum will lead eastern Ukraine down the same path as Crimea, recently annexed by Russia after a plebiscite in favour of independence. Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchynov, warned people in Donetsk and Luhansk, the two eastern regions where the referendum will be held, that a "yes" vote for "self-rule" would court catastrophe. "A dreadful terror is in train with the support of a large part of the local population," said Mr Turchynov. "It is a complex problem when a population deceived by propaganda support terrorists."
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
And they're likely pleased that the huge block of ethnic Russians in Crimea can no longer vote.
I was shocked too to see ordinary people that were going to grocery store or farmers market just turn against armored transporter and starting throwing rocks and stuff at IFV...
Then I look inward and think of Boston, where every citizen became the enemy of the state and brought to their knees.
The ethnicity breakdown in the city is 48% Ukrainian 44% Russian, in the Donetsk Oblast is 57% Ukrainian and 38% Russian.