Today [Tuesday] is by far the worst day in Ukraine's short history as an independent state.
Events took their predictable course with both radical, organised protesters and Berkut forces both shaping up for a battle.
The ever-increasing radicalisation of protesters and tacit indifference or approval to it by opposition leaders has been apparent for many weeks because Yanukovych has been been totally impervious to any request for reasonable compromise over this period. In truth the opposition leaders' influence on the radicals has been insignificant in any case. Any innovative, peaceful protests such as AvtoMaidan have been ruthlessly targeted by the authorities. Berkut forces have continually behaved in a lawless manner with absolute impunity since the start of the troubles.
Calls for a 'peaceful advance' onto the Verkhovna Rada this morning inevitably lead to the bloody events that took place. Some PoR deputies, according to rumour, were willing to vote with opposition deputies to change the Constitution; it was absolutely, critically essential some progress be made today [Tuesday] in parliament. But speaker Rybak, under strict orders from Yanukovych, stubbornly stalled the registration of any new bills... and Berkut forces outside did the rest.
Berkut forces were well prepared and knew in advance these events would give them and the authorities a plausible excuse to clear the Maidan and introduce a 'de facto' state of emergency. They have been assisted by hundreds of mercenary titushky in their work.
Because protests on the Maidan were always peaceful in nature its clearance by force and the inevitable deaths and horrific serious casualties that inevitably result will prompt a most serious reaction from the US administration and from the EU. A whole range of nasty weaponry is allegedly being utilised to clear Maidan. Hospitals and clinics are making desperate appeals for additional staff while I write. There are reports of many hundreds of injured.
Yanukovych does not intend to talk to opposition leaders until protests are quelled, but I cannot imagine what will he then be able to offer them.
From now on it is a case of 'every oblast for itself' as central government loses control of portions of the country. Ministry of the Interior buildings in western Ukraine are being trashed as I write..
Tomorrow mass arrests are inevitable...those detained can expect to be brutally treated if law enforcement officials continue to behave as they have until now.
Putin's scenario for Ukraine is now under way..As one British journalist declared: The Berlin Wall has moved hundreds of kilometres eastward to the Dnipro river.