And to think it was just two days ago when all the USDJPY momentum ignition algos roared to life on flashing headline news of yet another diplomatic "de-escalation" of tensions in Ukraine. What was clearly ignored is that since John Kerry was involved, it was nothing but the latest sham. And the proof came moments ago when Reuters reported, citing Russian state television on Sunday, that five people were killed when Ukraine gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report. Ukraine's Interior Ministry in Kiev could not immediately be reached for comment and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had no word of the reported incident on his Facebook page, where he usually posts updates on any clashes - perhaps because this one was allegedly started by Ukraine ultra-right nationlists of the Right Sector.
Russia's state-run Rossiya 24 news station, citing its correspondent in Slaviansk, said three of the dead were with the pro-Russian separatists who control Slaviansk, and the other two were from the group which attacked their checkpoint.
The self-declared mayor of Slaviansk, who supports the pro-Russian separatists in the city, said there had been a clash overnight and there were casualties, a Reuters Television team in Slaviansk said.
The fatalities came after a night attack on a protester checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, a Rossiya 24 news channel correspondent reported. Four cars drove by the checkpoint and opened fire at the local residents holding it, killing three people and seriously injuring another one.
A group of protesters, who had firearms unlike those holding the checkpoint, was called from their camp in the city. They opened fire at the attackers, killing two of them, the report said.
The protesters in the confrontation reportedly captured the attackers’ two cars. Firearms, explosives and aerial photos of Slavyansk were discovered there. RIA Novosti cites a doctor at the city’s main hospital as saying that four people with gunshots were brought in overnight.
“Apparently, something serious happened,” the doctor said.
The protesters believe that they were attacked by paramilitary from the Right Sector.
The full report from LifeNews, in Russian, can be seen below:
And some additional reporting from British blogger Graham Phillips:
So if this is not merely another attempt at provocation and indeed the attackers' cars were captured and can be provided as evidence, and it can be verified that it was indeed Ukraine elements who were in breach of the now clearly null and void Geneva agreement, this may just be the escalation that Putin, who last week admitted for the first time the massing of Russian forces at the Ukraine border, will be free and clear to finally roll the tanks across the border purely with intentions to "protect" a "separatists" population which is clearly now targeted by its own government.
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Update: completely in line with expectations, the Ukraine government promptly accused Russia of staging the whole thing. Via Reuters:
Ukraine's police and intelligence service accused Russia of staging a fatal shooting incident on Sunday in which pro-Moscow separatists were killed in the east of the country.
"Armed lawbreakers and saboteurs who are terrorising the local population around Slaviansk ... have turned to cynical provocation," the SBU security service said in a statement, describing the incident as a "staged attack".
No group was present "other than the saboteurs and crime figures, supported and armed by officers of Russia's GRU" military intelligence, the SBU added. The Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, blamed by separatists for the shooting, denied involvement and also accused Russian special forces.
Russia has accused Ukraine of failing to protect civilians in the Russian-speaking east and has threatened to intervene on their behalf - as it did before annexing Crimea last month.