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Friday, April 25, 2014

Arrest of International Observers in Slovyansk Ordered by Moscow

A team of OSCE observers has been arrested (kidnapped? held?) in Slovyansk. This action was nominally ordered by the self-proclaimed mayor, Ponomarev. It continues a pattern of arrested, held, or expelled journalists in this epicenter of  Russian intervention and diversion.

From the intercepted phone call between "mayor" Ponomarev and GRU Colonel Strelkov, we know who is boss of Slovyansk. In the intercepted call, Strelkov can be heard ordering around the self proclaimed mayor (to take care of the body of murdered deputy Rybakov). So it is clear that Strelkov would have ordered the action with the OSCE observers, and the arrest of the OSCE team is a major and risky move that Strelkov would have had to clear with Moscow.

What we learn from this is that Moscow cannot afford outside independent journalists or observers poking around Slovyansk and discovering that it is one big Russian covert operation. In Crimea, the Russian forces blocked out international observers and independent journalists. They cannot do the same with all of eastern Ukraine. The more eyes on operations like Slovyansk, the more the whole myth of self-defense forces will unravel. The violent reaction shows how much the Russian occupants of Slovyansk have to hide. Time is not on their side.

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