A row of dramatic events took place in Luhansk on Tuesday. As 112 International reported, Interior Ministry of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic claimed detention of Ukrainian saboteurs; they allegedly ‘infiltrated the territory of the LPR and planned terrorist acts’ there.
However, it appeared to be a serious internal face-off: local users of social networks reported presence of well-armed men without insignia in the downtown Luhansk; ‘the little green men’ they name them – after the Russian troops, which annexed Ukrainian Crimea in 2014. The ‘guests’ arrived and occupied the city centre so fast many locals did not even understand what was going on. Some even assumed these could be the disguised ‘Ukrainian troops’.
So, what it’s all about?
The inside problem in the LPR emerged as Ihor Kornet, the incumbent ‘interior minister’ of the non-recognized republic, illegally occupied the house of a local resident in 2014. Nina Kvirtsova, the owner of the house was absent due to long-lasting military actions; recently, she returned and demanded that Kornet leave the house. The official clearly did not want to abandon the place; his guards would not let her inside the apartment. Kvirtsova turned to prosecutor’s office but they could not help her.
Eventually, Ihor Plotnitsky, the ‘leader’ of the non-recognized republic came to Luhansk, evicted the ‘minister’ and told him he was suspended for illicit behavior. Kornet resisted and escaped. Later this day, he locked himself up inside his office. His associates in the Ministry asked Plotnitsky to stop applying pressure on him, saying he was wrong-footed in order to destabilize the situation in the ‘republic’.
This is where the little green men appeared, actually; as the local authorities announced ‘military drills’ on Tuesday morning, these armed fighters were involved in the ‘continuing measures aimed at suspending the Interior Minister.’
Kornet himself turned to the people, saying that a group of Ukrainian saboteurs planned terrorist acts, and added that most of them were detained. Plotnitsky responded, insisting the whole turmoil had nothing to do with the activity of Ukrainian special services; according to him, Kornet’s power is illegitimate and the masked gunmen came here to assist in suspending the minister.
Later that day, 112.ua news agency learned that Plotnitsky disappeared, while people loyal to Kornet occupied his residence. His current whereabouts are unknown. Radio and TV are not functioning, as the masked gunmen seized the local TV and radio station.