At Russia's request, the U.N. Security Council convened in emergency session on Sunday, April 13. The Russian pretext was that Ukraine's acting interim president had announced hours before that Ukraine would employ counter-terrorist operations with special forces and military personnel to neutralize the Russian separatist activities in some six Ukrainian cities, most recently Slovyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region. Ukraine's president stressed that the Russian pattern in eastern Ukraine was following the Russian land grab in Crimea and that Ukraine would not allow this.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin's "modus operandi" was transparent. He had requested the Security Council session to put the world on notice that there an was ostensible pretext for what Russia might do next.
In 2008, I witnessed Ambassador Churkin in action at a U.N. press conference. In response to a question, he explained Soviet activity following the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 which resulted in the Nazi occupation of Poland and the Soviet occupation of eastern Ukraine and the Baltic states. Without hesitation Churkin asserted that the people of western Ukraine and the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia had requested that the Soviets come and protect them.
For Churkin and others like him, black could be white and white could be black if expediency called for it. So it has always been imperialists whether they were czars or czarinas like Peter and Catherine, commissars like Stalin or presidents ostensibly elected like Putin.
On Sunday, one by one, the other members of the Security Council voiced their support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial inviolability. They pointed out that Russia has made little secret of its aggressive intentions, that the activities by Russia in eastern Ukraine were artificially created and that they harkened back to its land grab of Crimea.
There is no grassroots movement in those eastern Ukrainian cities. Some 10 to 20 professional and well armed agents of Russian special forces in camouflage with no recognizable insignia were in charge. Some even wore mask to protect themselves from being recognized from other activities, perhaps as recent as attempts to disrupt the "Euromaidan" and then occupy Crimea.
The numbers that joined were very small by comparison with the grassroots size of the previous "Euromaidans" throughout Ukraine. In tandem Russia has amassed some 40,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border with an aerial attack capacity and tanks. Additionally there are 25,000 Russian military personnel on Ukrainian territory in Crimea.
One and by one, the ambassadors praised Ukraine's restraint and voiced their support for Ukraine's position that the Ukrainian state has to protect its people. One by one they supported the positions of the OSCE and U.N. monitors who are on the ground in Ukraine. They rebuked Russia for trying to change the facts on the ground.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power ridiculed the Russian power play and tactics saying that Russia thinks that international borders are mere "suggestions" and that Russia repeats the same provocation and propaganda as if there were no Internet to disprove what they are saying. The ambassadors stressed that there is no evidence of any danger to the Russian minority in Ukraine. In fact the only danger is to the Tatars and the Ukrainians in Crimea.
Last to make a formal presentation was the Nigerian ambassador who chaired the Security Council session. She saw right through the Russian pattern and stressed that "spheres of influence are detrimental to the concept of a global community" and pointed to the dangers of a military solution.
Provocation, intimidation and propaganda are intended to create a pretext which is followed by invasion and occupation. That's the pattern that Stalin made notorious, just as Hitler had done when plotting his invasions around Europe. Camouflage with no insignias and masks are elements peculiar to Putin himself. They reveal the mindset of a man who was, after all, a KGB colonel skilled in subterfuge.