Ukraine civil war is nearly coming to fruition, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He says that Ukraine’s anti-terror raids on pro-Russian paramilitary groups in Eastern Ukraine “essentially puts the nation on the brink of civil war.” A Ukraine civil war would most likely lead to a great destabilization of the region, potentially leaving room for Putin and the Russian government to get involved with the hopes of using a Ukraine civil war to take more of the country to join its federation. The Ukrainian Government began a crackdown on Monday after giving an ultimatum over the weekend to Russian separatists to lay down their arms. Putin is also seeking condemnation from the international community against Ukraine. He believes that the United Nations should speak out against Ukraine’s actions.
The escalating conflict in Ukraine “essentially puts the nation on the brink of civil war,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
His assessment came during a telephone conversation with his German counterpart, according to the Kremlin, the same day Ukraine’s military launched its first, formal military action against pro-Russian militants with troops retaking an airport in the eastern Donetsk region after a reported clash with gunmen.
The military action came a day after a Ukrainian ultimatum expired for protesters to lay down their arms, a move that appeared to signal an escalation in the crisis that has sparked a diplomatic row between Ukraine, its Western allies and Russia.
With pro-Russian militants seizing government and police buildings in as many as 10 towns and cities in eastern Ukraine, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told Parliament “an anti-terrorist operation” was under way in the region.
The aim of the military operation is to “stop attempts to tear Ukraine to pieces,” he told lawmakers.
Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and aircraft that appeared to be coming from the airfield in Kramatorsk, which Turchynov’s office said was under the control of Ukrainain special forces late Tuesday.
There were conflicting reports about casualties, with Russian state-run media citing varying casualty claims supplied by militants. According to the reports, there were either two injured or four killed, claims that CNN cannot independently verify.
Brink of civil war?
Putin’s comments followed similar ones hours earlier from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Ukraine was on a violent path.
“Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. It is scary. And I hope that everyone who is responsible for making decisions at the moment — I mean both, the current Ukrainian authorities, who we can’t consider legitimate, but these are the authorities who came to power as result of a coup — has brains to avoid driving the country to such shocks,” he said at a news conference Tuesday in Moscow.
The pro-Russian uprising follows Russia’s annexation last month of Ukraine’s Crimea region, a move that emboldened other pro-Russian Ukrainians in the country’s east to rise up.
Russia has said it reserves the right to intervene to protect the rights of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
During the conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin also raised concerns about what he called an “anti-constitutional course” taken by Ukrainian authorities in Kiev to suppress protests.