If Ukrainian forces continue their assault on rebel strongholds in eastern Ukraine, then only three things can happen, separately or in sequence: they will be beaten back with the help of Russian weaponry—such as that used to shoot down two Ukrainian helicopters at Sloviansk on Friday; they will retake one or two towns, after which Russia will reinforce other towns with lightly-disguised Russian special forces, making their capture much harder; and if Ukrainian forces resort to heavy weaponry to blast the rebels from their positions, Russia will invade. The only question then will be where the Russian army will stop: whether Moscow would be content to hold the Donbas, as it previously held South Ossetia and Abkhazia as quasi-independent statelets formally still part of Georgia, or whether it would go on to seize half of Ukraine.
What is truly strange and terrible about this looming disaster is that all the leading players already know and agree about what the only solution can be, even if they disagree on the details and the timing: a federal Ukraine with elected regional governments and robust protection for regional interests.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Only Possible Solution in Ukraine