Ukraine Mounts Security Push as Russia Warns on Civil War
Comment of the Day

April 08 2014

Commentary by David Fuller

Ukraine Mounts Security Push as Russia Warns on Civil War

Here is the opening of this topical article from Bloomberg:

Ukrainian authorities sent security forces to Kharkiv to clear the country’s second-biggest city of separatists as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of using “special forces and agents” to spark unrest.

An “anti-terrorist operation” was under way in Kharkiv, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border, with the subway closed and the center sealed off, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said today. The Russian government said its neighbor’s crackdown risks sparking civil war.

“Provocateurs have been sent there to create chaos,” Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington. “These efforts are as ham-handed as they are transparent,” Kerry said. He accused Russia of working to “create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary.”

David Fuller's view

Unfortunately, there is no nice, diplomatic way out of this problem for the West and capitulation would embolden Putin.  Increasing Western sanctions may make him more aggressive but that would also be a sign of Putin’s political vulnerability.  This situation could drag on for years or end relatively quickly if a sufficient number of Russia’s oligarchs have the courage to overthrow him.  They may soon have the incentive but the personal risks could not be higher. 

See also: Putin Stirs Azeri Angst That Russia Is Set to Extend Sway.  

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