Separatists recapture their leader on the eve of peace talks in Ukraine

KIEV Sat May 17, 2014 1:53pm EDT

Self-styled mayor of Luhansk region Valery Bolotov answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, May 10, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Self-styled mayor of Luhansk region Valery Bolotov answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, May 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

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KIEV (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatist leader Valery Bolotov was detained by Ukrainian border guards on Saturday then freed by armed supporters in a firefight at the checkpoint, a Ukrainian spokesman said.

The incident took place just a few hours before peace talks in the eastern town of Kharkiv. The talks were initiated by Ukrainian authorities to ease the situation in east.

Bolotov, the self-proclaimed governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, was detained at the checkpoint as he returned from treatment in Russia for wounds he suffered in an attack on Tuesday, border guards spokesman Oleh Slobodyan said.

About 200 armed separatists went to the checkpoint and demanded his release. A fight broke out in which the separatists used grenades and machine guns.

"They recaptured Bolotov. We are trying to find out whether there are victims," Slobodyan said.

The eastern rebellion by pro-Russian separatists has shaken Ukraine and pushed Western powers into a confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of destabilizing Ukraine.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Comments (9)
DavidLogan wrote:
If, say, the Iranians had were holding our president in detention..I would hope that we would use whatever force necessary to rescue him…due to the belief that his captors can’t be trusted

May 17, 2014 8:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JPHR wrote:
Nuland is on record to have invested 5 billion since the 90 to be able to select Yats. CIA Brennan visits Kiev an subsequently the army starts an action against its own people. And now State Department accuses Russia of medling?

2009 analysis predicting this mess:

May 17, 2014 8:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
pyradius wrote:
Pro-Kremlin political analysts and the state-­controlled media claimed that the U.S. State Department funneled billions of dollars directly to the anti-Yanukovych opposition movement as part of a larger U.S. agenda to orchestrate regime changes all over the world. Pro-­Kremlin journalist Dmitry Kiselyov recently said on Rossia 1 television that this money was transferred via diplomatic mail from Washington to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and then on to the protesters. But these claims are completely groundless.

Yes, the U.S. State Department spent about $5 billion in Ukraine, but this money — which was spread out over 20 years, long before Maidan — was spent on programs promoting civil society and on charitable programs. U.S. law prohibits the funding of opposition leaders and movements, and there have been no violations of this law in Ukraine.

The objective of these U.S. government programs is as simple as it is self-serving: to spread U.S. “soft power” to other countries so that millions of grant recipients will think positively about the U.S.

The reason for the civil society development programs is also simple: The more democracies there are in the world with strong civil societies and institutional checks and balances, the more stable the world becomes. After all, as the old argument goes, democracies rarely fight each other.

The only problem with these State Department programs is that they are rarely successful in autocracies, where civil society, by definition, poses an existential threat to their “vertical power structures.” Notably, in the 1990s, when the Kremlin was committed to building a civil society, the government welcomed these State Department programs with open arms. Yet under Putin, in 2012, USAID was expelled from the country.

May 17, 2014 10:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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