by Stephen Lendman
Kiev putschists helicoptered them in. They came with orders to cause mayhem. They attacked federalization supporters.
They did so violently. Gunfire was heard. Three deaths were reported. So were over a dozen injuries.
The House of Trade Unions was set ablaze. Neo-Nazis did so with anti-Maidan activists inside.
Reports said 38 people died. Thirty succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Eight perished jumping out of windows.
Another 50 needed medical treatment. Ten policemen were affected.
An emergency meeting followed. Mayor Vladimir Nemirovsky said:
"We are making all possible intensive measures to restore law and order." Violent perpetrators will be prosecuted, he added.
Reports said about 1,500 Kiev supporters gathered in central Odessa's Sobornaya Square. Radicalized Chernomorets football club supporters joined them.
Right Sector insignia were prominently displayed. Thugs came armed with chains, bats, shields and other weapons. They came looking for trouble.
They shouted "Glory to Ukraine." "Death to enemies." "Knife the Moskals." It's a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians.
Hundreds of anti-Kiev activists confronted them. Clashes followed. Mayhem explains what happened. Both sides used Molotov cocktails, smoke grenades and rocks.
Earlier Odessan rallies demanded local autonomy. They want referendum authority to assure it.
Police chief Petr Lutsuk demanded expelling recently-arrived radicalized elements, saying:
"A large number of people had gathered in Kiev, and it was decided to send these groups to Odessa."
"We do not need them. They came and created a volatile situation."
Local authorities couldn't restrain fighting. It spread to Deribasovskaya Street and Grecheskaya Square.
Police used shields to evacuate injured victims. Activists built barricades in self-defense.
The battle for Slavyansk continues. Kiev military forces launched it pre-dawn Friday.
Activists said helicopters fired missiles on Ukrainian civilians. Attacking them constitutes a grievous war crime.
Ground forces seized checkpoints. Activists defended the city. Human chains blocked advancing APCs. They risked their lives doing it.
Some self-defense forces appealed directly to Putin for help. Another perhaps spoke for many others, saying:
"Obama is meddling with war everywhere. America long ago stopped being a 'guarantor of peace' in the world."
"They call themselves peacekeepers, but show me just one country where the US has brought peace and prosperity."
"Syria, Libya, Egypt" and elsewhere. "Revolutions are being organized everywhere. The American presidents have for a long time been bringing only death," destruction and human misery.
Slavyansk self-defense forces vowed to continue struggling. One member perhaps spoke for others saying:
"What has come down on us, this is not life. I am prepared that I may be killed, but I am sure that together we will defend our native city to the last."
Another said "(w)e want neither nationalists, nor oligarchs here. All those bandits and thieves. Let them bypass our region."
"My grandfather fought his way to Berlin, and I cannot betray him, betray what he was fighting for."
Russia called an emergency Friday Security Council meeting. It addressed Kiev's lawless aggression.
It did so behind closed doors. It's expected to continue on Saturday. Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced attacking civilians. It demanded hostilities stop.
Moscow's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin addressed reporters ahead of discussions, saying:
"We shall urge to stop violence. The Kiev regime, encouraged by its Western sponsors, has resorted to a large-scale use of military force, actually killing the last hope for viability of the Geneva accords."
"Reports are coming about those killed and injured. If the criminal undertaking of the Kiev clique is not stopped immediately, there will be no avoiding catastrophic consequences for Ukraine. We have warned about this more than once."
"Those who gave and fulfilled the criminal orders on unleashing bloodshed will bear full responsibility before the Ukrainian people."
"(D)uring the punitive operation of the Ukrainian army and illegal ultranationalist groups, English speech was heard in the air and English-speaking foreigners were seen among those who attacked Slavyansk."
"Supporting the organizers of the Kiev government coup and their military crackdown on protesters, the US and EU take great responsibility practically cutting all paths to resolve the crisis peacefully."
Separately, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said:
"Those in power in the Ukrainian capital must come to their senses and stop killing their citizens, otherwise the country's future lot might be very sad."
He called attacking civilians a "manifestation of a crime of feebleness of Kiev's rulers."
"Instead of taking effort to begin a normal dialogue in the spirit of the Geneva accords, to make parties to the conflict sit down at a negotiating table, to discuss compromise solutions, they launched a punitive operation using landing parties and helicopters."
"People are being killed. Blood is flowing. Responsibility for the war against own people rests on those who take criminal decisions in Kiev."
Churkin wants a strong Security Council statement. He wants unanimity. He wants Ukrainian aggression denounced. He wants Security Council members demanding all violence stop.
He wants what Washington and rogue EU partners won't permit. They support Kiev putschists. They elevated them to power.
CIA head John Brennan told them to attack Eastern Ukrainian activists. So did Vice President Joe Biden. Expect clashes to continue.
Expect self-defense freedom fighters to resist. They didn't come this far to quit. Freedom is too precious to lose. If it's not worth fighting for, what is?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.