Ukraine's government launched an operation against pro-Russian separatists who had seized various buildings in the country's east on Tuesday, but it appears the mission is not exactly going as planned. While the army boasted initially boasted that it had been able to force a group of gunmen out of the Kramatorsk airfield, reports emerged on Wednesday that members of a militia had been able to take over several Ukrainian army tanks. In addition, the fate of a group of government soldiers who were heading for the town of Kramatorsk but were surrounded by separatists remained unclear.
What's more, a flood of images showing civilians posing with armed militiamen are dealing a blow to Kiev's narrative that Kremlin-backed terrorists are trying to carve up a united Ukraine against the will of the local populace. It's a reminder that many parts of the country's east do indeed have significant pro-Russian sympathies, and that in a country as culturally and linguistically divided as Ukraine, things are never that black and white.
— Harriet Salem (@HarrietSalem) April 16, 2014
How to pick up in Slovyansk, part 2 in a series. pic.twitter.com/lbT9O7e7Y0
Hey baby. Slovyansk. pic.twitter.com/Nj3fDihtAS
Slovyansk. The guys with the masks and tanks get all the girls. pic.twitter.com/3K6Z1HzpGp
The militia man on the right has an address in Preston written on his flak, suggesting it's UK army surface pic.twitter.com/2jWbCCDI4u
— max seddon (@maxseddon) April 16, 2014
Meiden op de foto met de "bevrijders" van Slovjansk... De sfeer is ronduit feestelijk... pic.twitter.com/JVpgn4K5rR
— Pieter Waterdrinker (@WaterdrinkerP) April 16, 2014
Girls posing with the "liberators" of Slovyansk. The atmosphere is celebratory.
— James Marson (@marson_jr) April 16, 2014
Captured Ukrainian armour from this morn becomes prime selfie sight in Sloviansk pic.twitter.com/ibV87cWsJj
— Simon Ostrovsky (@SimonOstrovsky) April 16, 2014