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If Russia aims to annex eastern Ukraine, I think the conclusion of this thread is that there is nothing stopping them. So if Kievs goal is to avoid eastern Ukraine being annexed by Russia, their one and only chance is to gamble that Russia does not really want to annex eastern Ukraine. So they should try to avoid forcing Putins hand. Which means negotiations to accomodate Russia and the pro-Russian groups in eastern Ukraine.

Ordering in the army as the cabinet reportedly has done, risks massacres that forces or enables Putin to follow up his rethoric with troops. It is also a risky gamble, because if the army does not go, the cabinets claim to be ruling the country can be fatally wounded, encouraging other forces - local mobs, seperatist, contenders for central power - to take over local control.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Apr 13th, 2014 at 04:40:41 PM EST
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There is a real possibility Putin is bluffing. Taking Crimea without bloodshed was one thing, sending in an entire mechanized corps to batter down organized resistance is quite another.

Putin is clearly trying to destabilize eastern Ukraine to take control of it, either via annexation or indirectly via "federalisation". Do nothing, and the territory is lost. Try to stop it, and Putin might send in the tanks, or he might back down. Which it will be, I don't know. I do however know that Putin respects only one thing: strength.

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by Starvid on Mon Apr 14th, 2014 at 12:36:03 PM EST
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It is looking more and more as if Kiev is the one doing the bluffing, but no one is paying any attention. The government in Kiev may well have little effective control over the Ukrainian military.

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by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2014 at 08:07:31 PM EST
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