Escalation in Ukraine: Civil War
Pro-Russian separatists shot down two helicopters in a key eastern Ukrainian city, and fighting in the port city of Odessa triggered a fire that killed dozens, as the embattled nation moved closer to the brink of civil war. Interim Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov said "many" pro-Russia rebels have been killed, injured and arrested in a major offensive to regain control of Slavyansk, though it was not clear if the Kiev-backed forces had succeeded. Russia reacted angrily to the offensive by Ukrainian security forces, calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin warned it "effectively destroyed the last hope for the implementation of the Geneva agreements." In the Black Sea port city of Odessa, Ukraine's third-largest city, a fire that broke out in a trade union building amid clashes killed 31. Fighting there represented another ominous milestone in the conflict that threatens to become a full-blown civil war, as Odessa holds huge historic significance for Russians and Ukrainians alike.
It looks like Putin is determined to seize all of Eastern Ukraine, and Ukraine is resisting dismemberment. Surface to air missiles among the pro-Russian faction are yet more evidence of the presence of actual Russian military units.