(VOVworld) – Ukraine’s situation is complicated. Its eastern provinces and cities are seeing demonstrations demanding separation and independence. While tensions between Russia and the US and the West have dominated many international forums since Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine may fall into the worst crisis in its history if involved parties do not engage in dialogue.
Riot police stand in front of pro-Russian activists as they storm the prosecutor's office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors in Donetsk city have occupied the government office and declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. A referendum on secession from Ukraine and registration to be annexed to Russia has been set for May 11. Following the lead of Donetsk city, pro-Russian protestors in Kharkov and Lugansk city also stormed government offices and declared new People’s Republic states. They will hold referendums similar to the one in Crimea to become parts of Russia.
The Kiev government issued an ultimatum to the demonstrators yesterday. It warned the pro-Russian activists who have taken over state buildings in Ukraine’s eastern cities to enter talks to seek a political solution within 48 hours or face government forces.
Is the Crimea scenario repeating?
Incidents in Ukraine have worried Kiev and the West about a possible military action by Russia, following its annexation of Crimea a month ago.
Washington has warned of further sanctions if Moscow does anything more to destabilize Ukraine. The US sent additional warships to the Black Sea on April 10 as a strong message for Russia. The west has repeatedly accused Moscow of masterminding instability in eastern Ukraine and threatened more sanctions. The EU has extended the Russia and Crimea blacklist to include hundreds of individuals and organizations responsible for or involved in activities that threaten Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty. The list consists of 5 groups: congressmen, high-ranking government officials, military and security leaders, businesspeople, and reporters. When the list is applied, EU countries will refuse to issue visas to most of the top Russian politicians and will freeze their assets in EU banks. Ukraine is preparing to sue Russia in the international court.
Russia has asked Kiev to stop accusing Russia of causing its instability and warned that using force to end the protests would lead to a civil war in Ukraine. Russia said it has no intention of intervening in Ukraine but will protect the interests of its citizens.
A solution for the crisis
International analysts say the confrontation between Russia and the West will continue for many days. Russia says it does not recognize the legitimacy of the current Kiev authorities. The US and the West see Russia’s intervention in Crimea as an invasion. Admitting Ukraine to NATO and tougher sanctions against Russia could lead to greater hostility.
There have been some new developments to ease the tension between Russia and Ukraine. Russia has agreed to allow Ukraine to delay payments for natural gas imported between this October and December to next year to give Kiev more time to resolve its difficulties and regional issues.
With Ukraine’s economy on the verge of bankruptcy, 1.55 billion USD in gas debt and Russian committed emergency aid of 15 billion USD might change the Ukrainian government’s attitude. The Kiev government will have to choose between rather easily-gotten aid from Russia and a large package of aid with stricter conditions from the EU. The public hopes that talks between the US, Russia, Ukraine, and the EU scheduled for next week will find a positive solution for Ukraine.