East Ukraine Separatists Prepare for Long Siege

After Kharkiv, Other Cities Fortify Defenses

Ukraine’s military takeover of the city of Kharkiv was quick and bloodless, with only a handful of reports of any shooting, and no reports of any deaths. It served as a wake-up call for the separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk.

Luhansk government buildings are now surrounded with barricades and barbed wire. The protesters have also taken an armory in the city and taken automatic rifles, preparing to fight back if Ukraine’s troops come.

Donetsk, the base of the secessionist movement in the east, is also fortifying in anticipation of an offensive. Though not as large as Kharkiv, Donetsk appears to have a much larger secessionist movement, and is determined to hold out for a referendum.

Both Donetsk and Luhansk are much closer to the Russian border than Kharkiv, and the secessionists have been hoping to convince the Russian government to intervene on their behalf, with an eye toward a Crimea-style accession into the Russian Federation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.