The crisis in Ukraine continues to mount leaving the world to wonder where this is all headed. Government buildings throughout the eastern Ukraine have been taken over by pro-Russian militants. Is Ukraine on the edge of war or is there a peaceful way out?
The US calls for an urgent meeting on the tensions in Ukraine. The United States still holds hope that Russia will come to the table for peace talks. Putin seems to have nothing to do with it for the moment and there is no indication that his mind will be swayed. The US has made it clear that if the attacks continue they will intensify the sanctions against Russia.
The seizing of government buildings is eerily similar to the early stages of Russia’s takeover of Crimea. It is clear who is pulling the strings at this point. Putin has no qualms about the invasion of Crimea and is no doubt planning his strategy for eastern Ukraine. His strategy seems to be the same and with no real threat by the west as of yet, he sees no opposition to the possibilities.
On Monday morning a police station was overrun in the town of Korlivka by pro-Russian forces. The group seems to be moving forward, taking what they want as they go along.
With Russian troops continuing to mount on the eastern border of Ukraine the crisis is escalating. Ukraine has made it clear that all aggressors and occupiers will be punished and prosecuted in the armed struggle against their country. Russia fired back with the condemnation of any one in the way including the United States.
On Sunday, the conflict turned bloody with a security service officer killed and people on both sides injured. This comes one week after pro-Russian militants began to systematically takeover government buildings. The conflict erupted after Ukraine implicated that it would deploy armed forces in a large scale operation. Officials calling it an anti-terrorist operation, they will use force against the revolt in the eastern part of the country.
The accusations are flying in Ukraine, accusing Russia of coordinating the aggressive campaign against them. There does not seem to be a grass-roots uprising but rather a coordinated takeover that is clearly coming from Russia.
The United States has warned Ukraine not to fall into the strategy of Russia. If the shooting starts with the separatists it would offer Russia a pretext for an invasion, one they are ready for with thousands of troops ready on the border to move.
The Kiev government stated it will not make the same mistake as they did with Crimea by losing the part of their country without one shot taken.
The Foreign Minister in Russia issued a statement calling the shooting in Korlivka criminal and a precursor to civil war. The actions have put the entire country on edge. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin warns Ukraine that there could be severe consequences if they follow through with any military force.
The situation is in such chaos that anything could happen at any moment. It could take a turn for the worse and at that point the world may watch a civil war and possibly a call for the world to intervene.
Russia continues to blame the United States for the escalation of the Ukraine crisis. US officials have responded that the escalation is clearly on the back of the Russian Federation. It is not clear how talks can even be pursued if both Russia and the US continue to blame each other for the situation.
Churkin’s description of the situation has no foundation and is simply not true. He has stated that this is simply peaceful demonstration. Unfortunately for Churkin, there is a little thing called the internet. The videos continue to stream out of Ukraine showing the “peaceful” demonstrations are orchestrated and with very well armed “protesters,” to say the least.
Kiev has given a deadline of 9 a.m. to vacate the buildings that are currently being occupied and those who do will leave under an amnesty. The resistance took no heed to the warning; rather they pushed on and overran the Donetsk regional administration building. By late Sunday the resistance had reached towns throughout the region reaching as far as 60 miles away from Donetsk.
The takeover has been systematic in their attacks, flying the Russian flag over their occupations. The unrest has reached a number of cities in eastern Ukraine with most cities losing their government buildings.
Sen. John McCain calls to at least give the pro-Ukrainian people weapons to defend themselves as well as arm the Ukrainian army. There does not seem to be much talk about how to handle the situation from the United States. With the exception of placing more sanctions, no real plan has come out if the Russian government does invade Ukraine.
The interest for Putin is the pipelines that run through Ukraine. The pipelines are a large source of the Russian economy and they seem to be willing to protect it with whatever means possible. Most of the lines run straight through the eastern part of the country where Putin has placed his troops.
In the midst of all the chaos, the Ukraine government is asking the U.N. for peacekeeping troops. The acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, wants these peacekeeping troops sent to the east where the pro-Russian militants have been most successful in the seizing of their government buildings. The president feels as though conceding the eastern cities will weaken Kiev and the country as a whole.
The crisis in Ukraine has no seeming end as the tension mounts in the region. Negotiations are not clear and the end is not foreseeable at this time. Each day, each moment will have to be handled with care for the citizens of Kiev and Ukraine. There could be an invasion into the country at any time by Russia and no real sign of help from the U.N. could expedite that possibility. A country on the edge of war, looking for its independence and freedom, will they stand tall or will they fall into the hands of its oppressor?
Opinion by Jabar Morarend