What happens next in Ukraine

Posted May 13, 2014 on 2:07 am | In the category Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

As events in Ukraine continue to seem to spin out of control, some aspects of the crisis seem to be getting clearer:
1. Crimea is lost to Ukraine and will soon be understood by almost everyone to be apart of Russia – again. It is time for the western leaders to stop saying otherwise. It is a peninsula in the Black Sea that Russian armies have fought for over the centuries against the British, the Ottomans and others when it was threatened with invasion, and no one stepped in to defend it when Russia just took it over , not even the Ukrainian army that was stationed on it. Most of the people who lived there were in favour of the return to Mother Russia and Putin wasted no time in welcoming them back. In Russia itself it was an event that worked greatly to increase Putin’s popularity.

2. Ukraine has always functioned as a kind of buffer zone between the Russian Empire and western Europe. . There is no doubt that the western part of Ukraine, with the city of Lwiw/Lwow/Lemberg has been at different times a centre of Polish, Yiddish, German and Ukrainian cultures. There is absolutely no doubt that its inhabitants would vote overwhelmingly to look west for its future, but it is also true that western Europe has never been particularly welcoming towards them. When the EU clearly placed its eastern boundary on the Ukrainian/Romanian border and welcomed Romania and Bulgaria into its military wing, NATO, it made life very difficult for those western Ukrainians who would love to enjoy free travel and close relations to the people in the lands beyond the visa-controlled Romanian border. Ukranians have emigrated in large numbers over the last century and a half, especially to the Canadian prairies, partly because they never felt particularly welcome in central and western Europe while simultaneously being subjected to enforced famine by its Slavic brothers to the east.

3. There is real uncertainty about what would happen in eastern Ukraine if such a vote were held. Cities of a million people like Donetsk and Karkov – and suddenly Odessa seems to have joined this assembly – seem to be so divided on the topic that civil war seems a real possibility if serious negotiations aren’t held immediately. Nobody seems to really know what Putin’s plans might be, but his recent suggestion that the pro-Russian separatists should act with a bit more caution, may be a sign that a kind of semi-autonomous status within the Ukrainian Republic for Russian-speaking areas areas of eastern Ukraine might be a negotiable position that would be less threatening than anything anyone else has been able to think of. .

4. Putin has proven to a ruthless and powerful opponent in all this. Here on his home turf he has been able to completely outmaneuver both his Ukrainian adversaries and the western leaders who have so ditheringly come to their defence. His foreign minister makes mincemeat of all the western foreign ministers except the German Frank-Walter Steinmeyer who is very aware of how awful the actions of west European armies in Ukraine have been in the recent past. Putin has a black belt in judo, and he has proven he is one tough customer, but it may be that he has made all the moves he plans to make and that a negotiated settlement based on a Ukrainian Federation can bring some chance of peace to this tormented part of the world. If not ….

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