Kiev’s military faced off with protesters in east Ukraine on Wednesday
to sort out their differences…and found none. Soldiers appeared
reluctant to go into battle against anti-government activists.
When Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) entered downtown
Kramatorsk as part of Kiev’s military operation against
anti-government protesters in the east of the country, they were
stopped in their tracks, surrounded by crowds of local residents.
One YouTube video of what happened next shows a woman coming to a
soldier with the reproach: “You are the army, you must
protect the people.
“We are not going to shoot, we weren’t even going to
is the soldier’s reply.
Similar conversations could be heard at each of several APCs
which entered the city, with locals promising to defend their
neighbors, in case the soldiers start a military operation.
Military vehicles parked in downtown Kramatorsk have turned into
hotspots for political discussion, with people beside the
vehicles trying to get their views through to people on top of
Another video features the Kramatorsk crowds loudly chanting
“Army with the people”
and applauding the soldiers as
they were leaving their APCs.
“Guys, we are with you! You are great!”
women are heard
yelling to the vacating soldiers.
Six Ukrainian military vehicles in Kramatorsk actually switched
sides and began flying Russian flags on Wednesday.
Around 60 crew members of Ukrainian armored vehicles sent to
Kramatorsk for carrying out the military operation against
anti-government protesters, have switched sides and joined the
local self-defense squads, according to RIA Novosti, citing the
“We’ve seen here, that these are neither separatists nor
terrorists, but ordinary local residents, with whom we are not
going to go to battle
,” one of the defected soldiers said.
All of the troops who decided to side with the self-defense come
from the Dnepropetrovsk region, neighboring with the Donetsk one.
This YouTube video shows an encounter where some of the Ukrainian
military vehicles raise Russian flags, while others raise the
flags of the Donetsk People’s Republic that the supporters of
federalization want to establish. The crowd reacted with loud
The soldiers and civilians started fraternizing very quickly and
soon were joking about “coming for a visit without weapons
” Many of the soldiers put on St. George’s
ribbons, the traditional Russian emblem used to commemorate the
Soviet Union’s fight against Nazism in World War II.
Tuesday, when the military operation against anti-government
protesters in the east was launched, was not as peaceful.
According to activists, four people were killed and two others
injured when troops seized
an airfield in Kramatorsk, which had earlier
been controlled by protesters.