The latest shot has just been fired in the protests in the Ukraine, as President Viktor Yanukovych fired his army chief and replaced him with the chief of his navy. Bloomberg reports that one decree on Yanukovych’s website said he had fired both the army chief Volodymyr Zaman and the navy chief Yuriy Ilyin. However, a second decree named Ilyin as the new army chief.
Ukraine aims for martial law
At this point it is unclear exactly why these changes were made. However, Yanukovych has granted the Ukrainian military new laws under a new anti-terrorism operation. Bloomberg reports that the move came after one region in the Ukraine declared independence from the president’s government.
According to Yanukovych’s secret service, they began carrying out the anti-terrorism order with the goal of restoring order and protecting the nation’s borders. The government is trying to reign in the bloodiest protests so far in a three-month standoff. The new anti-terrorism order allows the army to search, detain and shot at Ukrainians. It falls just short of martial law, which requires the approval of parliament.
Ukrainians rise up
The Defense Ministry said protestors have taken over 100,000 rounds of ammo and 1,500 guns from the government’s military bases, buildings and depots. So far at least 25 people have died in the three months since protests against the Ukrainian government first broke out. Yanukovish blames the opposition for the violence and the deaths, accusing them of trying to overthrow his government.
The European Union is considering sanctioning Ukrainian officials and seizing their accounts. The European Investment Bank said it has frozen its own activities within the Ukraine because of the violence there. This week Russia said it would renew funding for the Ukraine and blamed the European Union and the U.S. for the violence which has broken out. It also blamed “radical elements” and “extremists” for the escalation of violence.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Yanukovych to express “grave concern” about the violence in the Ukraine and urge him to show some restraint in his dealings with the uprising.