Saturday, May 03, 2014

Ukraine: Battle of Odessa

Odessa was the place Stalin and many other Bolsheviks got their basic training in revolution, so perhaps it's not coincidence that Putin chose it for his latest provocation. Roland Oliphant of The Telegraph has an account of the events from Odessa:

The crowd, which included ordinary members of the public as well as members of the “Maidan Self Defence forces” and at least some members of Pravy Sektor, a hardline nationalist group, began to gather at around 2pm in Cathedral Square.

Before they reached the stadium, however, witnesses said the march was attacked by men who appeared to be pro-Russian activists, sporting the black and orange ribbon of St George.

The assault by the pro-Russians appears to have been planned. Witnesses and video footage show the attackers were well equipped for a street fight, with shields, helmets, sticks and body armour.

But so, too, were the marchers. Once the clash started, casualties were almost inevitable.

The heavily outnumbered pro-Russians eventually retreated to the Trades Union building where conflict continued.

We will probably never know whose petrol bomb began the fire that eventually spread throughout the building, but this inferno ended up killing 32 people.

Witnesses sympathetic to the pro-Maidan movement point out that video footage appears to show the fire beginning on the third floor, behind an intact window - and out of reach of the petrol bombs thrown by the crowd outside. Maybe, they say, a pro-Russian dropped a petrol bomb by accident.

Putin's provocation has succeeded. How long till the invasion to "rescue" his partisans?