Yesterday, the governor of the region of Kharkov, Mikhail Dobkin, gave a long press-conference in which he outlined the measures taken by this region in response to the developments in Kiev. Among other things, he declared that:
1) He had ordered the recall of the local Berkut forces from Kiev because he could not order them to go into combat against snipers without carrying their firearms.
Dobkin also explained why so few eastern Ukrainians were seen in Kiev's counter-demonstrations on the so-called anti-Maidan. He said that unlike the nationalists who could count on limitless US-supplied monies to cover the huge expenditures needed to bus in a support the nationalist insurgents in Kiev, the eastern Ukrainians had to travel on their own initiative.
All in all, I am encouraged by the latest news out of Crimea and Kharkov and I think that I am beginning to discern the strategy these regions are planning to use to deal with the nationalist takeover in Kiev.
First, they will rely on local police forces supported by local militias to protect their regions from any invasion from the West.
Second, they will take over the functions of the Central Government and self-finance themselves.
Third, they will engage in intense consultations with Russia to coordinate their actions and obtain support when needed.
And make no mistake, while apparently purely "defensive" this strategy has a very "offensive" component to it: for decades the eastern and southern Ukraine has been feeding and financing the western regions and by cutting off their financial contributions for the Central Government the eastern and southern regions are essentially de-financing the nationalist regions (which are dirt poor to begin with). If Napoleon (or Cicero - depends on who you ask) is correct, and money is the nerve of war, then by self-financing themselves the southern and eastern regions could wage a most effective economic war on the nationalist insurgency. And that is a strategy Russia could, and I think should, back.
Should that not be sufficient, the south and eastern Ukraine appear ready to secede and declare their independence.