Pro-Russian Violence in Eastern Ukraine: What’s Next For Putin? [Updated]

Vladimir Putin has effectively swallowed Crimea, and there doesn’t appear to be anything that Ukraine or the West can do about it. So what lies next? Will Russia decide to take control over the eastern portion of the country that is occupied largely by ethnic Russians? Perhaps so: violent clashes have broken out in some eastern cities between pro-West and pro-Russia elements, suggesting that groundwork is being laid for a Russian takeover.

Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine, located in the northeast corner of the country not far from the Russian border. In Kharkiv, pro-Russia demonstrators stormed the administration building, knocked down Ukrainian flags and beat pro-Ukraine demonstrators with sticks and clubs:

This photo was also taken in Kharkiv. I am not sure whether it shows the result of the melee that you can see in the video, or whether it was a separate incident. Pro-Ukraine demonstrators were beaten and forced to kneel by a pro-Russia mob:

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All of this is frighteningly reminiscent of the 1930s.

UPDATE: This photo shows the Russian flag being put up in place of the Ukrainian flag in Kharkiv, I believe on top of the same administration building. Some are claiming that this was done by Russian troops, as opposed to pro-Russia Ukrainians.

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One of those beaten by pro-Russia elements in Kharkiv was a well-known Ukrainian writer named Serhiy Zhadan. He is being led away in this photo:

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