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Showing posts from June, 2014

Ukraine - sorrow the sensible reaction

One year ago, Ukraine had its problems, but it was stable and peaceful.  Twelve months later, the east and the south of the country are ravaged by civil war, while the Crimean Peninsula has become part of Russia.  The lowest estimates suggest that over 300 people have died so far during the conflict, and the BBC reports that over 14,000 refugees have fled the fighting and crossed the Russian border.
The turmoil which has engulfed Ukraine, since President Yanukovych fled the country following protests and violence in Kiev, is, above all, desperately sad.  From the Rada's declaration of independence in 1991, until the latter part of 2013, the country’s fractious, fragmented politics remained peaceful, barring the odd bout of fisticuffs in parliament.  The new nation state managed to span, more or less successfully, a complicated patchwork of cultural identities, languages and political affiliations.
The two sides in the civil war now badly need a little time and some common ground i…

The developing situation in Ukraine

A number of months on and after any number of possible pretexts, the predicted Russian intervention in eastern and southern Ukraine has not yet materialised. 
The most notorious blood-letting took place in Odessa, where thugs from Pravy Sektor and nationalist football hooligan gangs torched the House of Trade Unions along with many of the people inside, accompanied by allegations that police colluded in the incident. Russia also expressed its opposition in strong terms as Ukrainian forces killed up to 50 members of pro-Russian forces who were occupying the airport in Donetsk.  Its military, however, still did not get involved. While the Kremlin has waged a propaganda war against the new regime in Kiev, which has been returned in kind, there is clear reluctance to become embroiled in any sort of conflict in eastern Ukraine.  There are even grounds to argue that, since its actions in the Crimean peninsula, Moscow has acted with surprising restraint.
Of course, the government in Kiev c…