I watched pro-Russian militiamen doing wheelies in captured Ukranian APCs on Channel 4 news tonight. This puts it in context:
The 40 or so soldiers BuzzFeed found being held captive behind city hall in mid-afternoon, however, said they had not defected and refused to explain how they had wound up under the guard of ragtag militiamen with machine guns. “It’s a long story,” one of them said, shrugging his shoulders as he reclined against his pack. Eventually, rebels ordered the men to line up and marched them to two decrepit buses waiting by the square. A few dozen locals, many of whom were evidently not observing the dry law declared the day before, formed a tunnel for them to walk through, cheering and clapping. Humiliated and disarmed, the men filed onto the buses and drove off.
They were from the 25th Airborne, which is apparently what Ukraine has for an elite military unit. There's a lurking subtext to this that the troops being sent to Eastern Ukraine on purported anti-terrorist missions don't have much appetite for the job because they feel that they're being sent against their own people by an interim government stuffed with the same crooks that prospered under Yanukovych and his predecessors. In other words, their patriotism has been leveraged against them. The basic problem here is maybe that the Ukranian nation is a different entity from the Ukranian state and that the two are at odds. We saw the Ukranian nation in action at the Maidan. It happens to occupy much of the same territory as the actually existing Ukranian state, which was sleazed out of the former Soviet Union as a means for local power holders to steal more conveniently. The Ukranian nation tried to replace the actually existing Ukranian state with something better in 2004 and failed. Ms Nuland and confreres thought it would be an excellent idea to use renewed public agitation for a genuine Ukranian nation to flip the Ukranian state into the pro-Western column. But all they got was a piece of obsolete political technology and a radically distrustful public. Putin understands this and is busy exploiting the situation. The West is still relying on what passes for a Ukranian state.