Secessionist protesters in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk have been given 48 hours to unconditionally surrender to the Ukraine interim government or be “evicted by force” by the nation’s military.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov insisted the situation would “be resolved in 48 hours” either by a surrender or a military offensive, citing the military’s quick takeover of the city of Kharkiv earlier this week.
The secessionists have been reinforcing barricades in the cities since Kharkiv fell, and continue to urge the Russian government to intervene on their behalf. The secessionists are overwhelmingly ethnic Russians, and are hoping to seek accession into Russia in the same manner as Crimea did.
Though Western nations continue to paint the whole situation as a Russian plot, the reality is Russia doesn’t seem to really want the eastern provinces of Ukraine the same way it wanted Crimea, which hosts a major naval base. Rather, Russian officials have been urging the rest of Ukraine to agree to some sort of federal system with more regional autonomy that would allow the ethnic Russians in the east to continue to be part of the Ukraine, instead of saddling Russia with more dirt-poor cities from their economic basketcase of a neighbor.