There should be a new found sense of urgency for the West as time is running out for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine Crisis. Russia’s actions in conjunction with the newly emboldened and overwhelmingly strong presence of the militants in the country’s South East are threatening to create a situation with no possible good outcome.
Most recently, Ukraine’s acting President, Oleksandr Turchynov, has admitted that the situation in the region is out of his government’s hands. He called their situation “helpless,” and that their primary objective had changed from one of actively trying to regain territory to one of preventing further loses.
What makes this is significant is that it is essentially an admission that Ukraine is lost. As has always been the case, the nation is at the mercy of Russia and, without any Western assistance, it is impossible for the country to defend itself. Thus, it has been easy pickings for Russia.
And, like any country, it is unlikely that it will be split in two without some sort of fight. However, the problem is that it is not “pro-Russian protesters,” that have been seizing Ukrainian cities and government buildings. It has been Russian citizens, soldiers, and officers, acting at the behest of Moscow to insight the most radical elements of the population in those regions. So any fight against these Russian thugs is really a fight against Russia.
As it stands, Ukraine is sure to lose in this crisis. Time is running out because the farther the Russians go to infringe on Ukrainian sovereignty, the less likely it will be that any peaceful solution will be achieved.
The reasons for this are twofold. First of all, Putin believes that he can reach his goals (those being territory expansion) without a second to consider true diplomacy. His model of invading by proxy is working, and his opposition has been tepid at best. Putin is not interested in a solution that does not see his goals reached, and until there is some force that is willing to say that his interests will come with serious consequences, he will not consider the diplomatic way out.
The other side of this is that the militants get stronger and stronger each day. The more police stations they raid and the more Russian men between the ages of 20 and 40 they can get into Ukraine, the more powerful an adversary they will become. This means that they will believe that their position is more sustainable, and thus that there is less reason to back down from it. These factors should create a renewed sense of urgency.
Basically, President Oleksandr Turchynov is calling out for help. He recognizes that his country is entirely weak against Russia, and that the Ukraine Crisis is quickly becoming less solvable. Unless Western leaders would like to see an emboldened Russia take over more and more territory, a line ought to be drawn and there ought to be a significant amount of work done to prevent the crisis from getting worse. Sanctions, military aid, and NATO expansion ought to be more seriously on the table. Time is running out, and unless Putin and his thugs are shown that there are consequences, their actions will not change.
Opinion by Brett Byers-Lane
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