WASHINGTON — With rising violence in the east as well as the south by the Black Sea, the Ukrainian government in Kiev has drafted a new special forces unit into the contested port city of Odessa.
Reuters reported that in addition to the violence in the eastern city of Slaviansk, where Ukrainian policemen were ambushed by heavily-armed pro-Russia rebels, Odessa is now split between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine activists and supporters.
The special forces unit was the most recent option available to the Ukrainian government, who blamed the police for an “outrageous” failure to contain the violence in Odessa, which has a cosmopolitan mix of Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians and Tatars. This was the first time the separatist violence struck the relatively-peaceful western parts of Ukraine.
The leadership of local police in Odessa have been fired and possibly face criminal action for their inaction, where 40 people were killed in clashes. This is a disturbing trend as the Ukrainian military is ill-equipped to deploy across the country and the police forces are relatively ineffective and corrupt.