Pro-Russia Civilians Confront Ukrainian Troops

NATO pledges heightened preparation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 16, 2014 8:51 AM CDT
People block a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on their way to the town of Kramatorsk on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. T   (AP Photo/ Evgeniy Maloletka)
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(Newser) – Ukraine continues its descent into chaos and confusion: With tanks and troops entering the Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk, the BBC reports that Ukrainian forces have run right into resistance from pro-Russia civilians. An officer noted that he would never attack his "own people"; another soldier said locals have been feeding military members who haven't eaten in days. NATO, for its part, is promising "more planes in the air, mores ships on the water, more readiness on the land." Meanwhile, reports point to Russian-flagged armored vehicles in nearby Slovyansk.

Ukrainian media has said that separatist fighters have taken the vehicles from the Ukrainian army, the New York Times reports; the Times notes that it's not clear whether the vehicles—if stolen at all—were taken by force or in agreement with Ukrainian defectors. A man riding one of the vehicles claimed those aboard were indeed defectors, the AP reports. The Ukrainian army says it has no reports of vehicles being stolen, the BBC notes. "I think we’ll live with the Russians now," said one bystander. Separately, in Odessa, government backers are establishing roadblocks around the city, apparently to keep militants out, the Times reports.

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