The situation in the Ukraine has changed since the election last Sunday, May 25th. Before that the regime in Kiev was illegitimate; a fascist coup supported by NATO.
Putin of Russia has said he will respect the results of last Sunday’s election, but the Ukrainian army is moving ever eastwards to crush the rebellion of Russian speakers in those regions and the self-proclaimed independent republics. In the process many civilians are being killed as well as pro-Russian militia groups.
Putin seems to have little influence over these pro-Russian groups, and NATO/the USA has not tried to influence the new Ukrainian government to reverse some of the fascist measures which led to the rebellion in the east of the country.
Putin, Obama and the EU need to call for an immediate ceasefire from both sides, then call an international conference including all sides in the Ukrainian dispute.
The Russian language needs to be protected in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine, and the culture of those regions. Some sort of federal solution is probably required so Russian speakers in the East and the pro-Westerners in the West of the country can each have a great degree of autonomy over their affairs. Then the self-declared ‘peoples’ republics’ can be wound up. The rights, language and culture of all Ukrainian citizens must be preserved.
As to the Crimea, this is more complex as it was part of Russia till 1954, and contains a Russian naval base. Whether it ends up in Russia or Ukraine depends on the political solution to the East/West division in Ukraine, and the degree of autonomy granted to the various provinces.
This civil war, like those in other parts of the former Soviet Union and also in Yugoslavia, is a direct result of the collapse of those two Socialist federations. The de-stablization has continued for the past 23 years, with many ethnic groups dispersed across what are now international borders but which before were internal ones.
The main problem in Ukraine is going to be the new government’s desire for closer ties, and possible future membership, of the European Union and NATO’s objective of expanding into that country, with their rightwing government’s support. The latter will not be acceptable to peacelovers anywhere, and not to the Russian-speakers in the East. It will also alarm Russia itself, which has already seen many former Soviet republics and Socialist states taken over by NATO, and, in their eyes at least, theatening Russia itself.
NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact at the end of the Cold War. It certainly should not be expanding to the East, and an agreement was given to Gorbachev that this would not happen. As to the EU, it is unlikely Ukraine will be accepted any time soon as a member, and although Russia is partly a European country, it is even more unlikely that Russia would be accepted, it being so huge and mainly an Asian country.
Nevertheless Russia should not have been left out in the cold and an association with the EU should have been made possible. As its capital, Moscow, is in Europe it should perhaps be granted membership. Turkey has been considered, and its capital, Ankara, is not even in Europe. Greek Cyprus has been granted membership although the whole of the island is in Asia.
Alternatively special arrangements should be made for Ukraine so it can have ties with both the EU and the Russian Federation. The present anarchy of bloody civil war should not be allowed to continue.