The political history of Ukraine has been turbulent ever since they voted for independence in December 1991. In any country where there is a clear divide, culturally or linguistically, it is always going to be difficult for Western style democracy to be adequate. The concept of a winner of an election being in total control sits uncomfortably, and certainly will generally fail to meet the definition "Democracy is government by the people for [all] the people." One of the statistics from Ukraine is that more than 30% of the people have Russian as their mother tongue or home language, while in the East that percentage is as high as 77%..
A strong case could have been made for Ukraine to adopt a federal type constitution on gaining independence. Their constitution is difficult. A directly elected President whose selected Cabinet falls under a Prime Minister, representing the largest political bloc in parliament, all of whom can be removed by parliament without reference to the President.
To most of us, if we care to look up the Wikipedia profiles, the people concerned are little better than Mafia. Certainly not people with whom we would like to associate, if we saw them on the street we would be inclined to move to the other side, or if we were Catholic might even consider crossing ourselves. .
I have written a separate piece dealing with the historical events leading to current crisis, which at least gives some context to the situation we find today, you should probably read.
The annexation of Crimea by Russia is at best questionable, although some credibility for the action can be granted. The United Nations at it's foundation grants the right to "self determination", the holding on to dominion over a people who are cultuarally or linguistically separate is an infringement of their rights unless done with the consent of those people.
Secession from Ukraine of the Russian dominant Eastern part of Ukraine should not be something we go to war about. It is an issue that should be negotiated between the parties. If the region concerned is critically important to Ukraine then the Ukraine government should negotiate directly with the separists to find a solution that accomodates all parties aspirations, even if it means changes to the Ukrainian constitution to make it more federal and therefore more inclusive.
I am not suggesting anything new in this.
"Talks in Geneva between the EU, Russia, Ukraine and USA yielded a Joint Diplomatic Statement referred to as the 2014 Geneva Pact in which the parties requested that all unlawful militias lay down the arms and vacate seized government buildings, and also establish a political dialogue that could lead to more autonomy for Ukraine's regions".
Poroshenko, on election, decided that he would instead crush the pro Russian separists with force. He did however fail to get the Ukrainian parliament to vote that the separists be declared terrorists and responded by calling a snap election and dissolving parliament. Any such election effectively disenfranchises the population in the East.
I cannot comment on whether Russia is actively invading Ukraine or simply encouraging Russians to help their compatriots in a Civil War. I do not believe Putin any more than I believe our politicians. Our politicians have form in bare faced lying to get their way … consider Tony Blair … "We have irrefutable proof that Sadam Hussain has weapons of mass destruction" or Colyn Powell … "This photograph shows a vehicle moving chemical weapons". Obviously Saddam Hussain was a magician amongst all his other failings as he made them all vanish into thin air.
The EU/USA need to take a deep breath, reconsider the implications of increased sanctions on Russia, and simply get Poroshenko and the leaders of the separist movements to the negotiating table to hammer out an agreement in terms of the 2014 Geneva Pact. That is a roadmap already agreed by all the parties and that is what we should be making happen.
Let us not allow this humanitarian crisis to continue, both sides are already guilty of what we call crimes against humanity, the indiscriminate artillery bombardment of civilian population is unacceptable.
"More than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the military campaign. According to the United Nations, 730,000 Ukrainian have fled to Russia since the beginning of 2014 and 117,000 have fled to other parts of Ukraine."
I have relied on Wikipedia for most of my quotes and avoided all the stuff out on the Internet that suggests much of what we are being told is possibly untrue, if you would like some of the links that I have searched please leave your e-mail address with a comment.