How a passive police force is fueling Ukraine’s crisis

Dan Peleschuk reports: A rally by pro-Ukraine supporters here on Monday night got off to a smooth start.

Hordes of armored police were dispatched to guard protesters as they marched peacefully down the city’s main street.

But when pro-Russian thugs wearing masks and brandishing crude weapons caught up to them, mayhem ensued. The tight police cordon peeled away, leaving the pro-unity protesters open to vicious beatings.

It’s not the first time that’s happened.

Whether it’s protecting eastern Ukraine’s embattled pro-unity protesters or defending local administrative buildings from seizures by anti-government rebels, law enforcement here has proven largely useless. Instead, it’s playing into the hands of pro-Russian rebels, further inflaming a crisis that’s threatening to tear the country apart at the seams.

Observers say a mix of pervasive corruption, split loyalties and sense of self-preservation is to blame. [Continue reading…]

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