The Ukrainian interim government in Kiev ought to be far more cautious instead of resorting to the sort of aggressive rhetoric that Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has indluged in. The killing of a member of the Ukrainian military in Crimea by pro-Russian volunteers could be a simple mistake and not a 'declaration of war'
The Kiev government needs
to resist the temptation to play the nationalist card in the run up to
elections in May 25 2014. By mobilising its Ukrainian forces and calling
for a National Guard in advance of a legitimately elected government
being put in place it could embolded the ultra-nationalists in Western
For all the talk from Western diplomats about the need to 'descalate' the potential for conflict, Arseniy Yatsenyuk's rhetoric about the "conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage." is counterproductive and could inflame tensions all the more if he does not placate Russophone fears in Eastern Ukraine.
Crimea has been lost to Ukraine and no amount of prating
by Western politicians could reverse that verdict. By ramping up
hostile rhetoric in order to compensate for its lack of legitimacy and
get forthright neoconservative support from those such as US Republicans
as McCain is very dangerous.
For all the accusations about Putin
playing a 'zero-sum' game' the same is true of those smarting from the
loss of Crimea to Ukraine, the main geopolitical aim of those in the
west who had been trying economic trade ties and 'democracy promotion'
in order to conclusively get Ukraine in the NATO fold.
permanent loss of the Crimea conclusively sets back the plan going back
to the 2008 Bucharest Summit to recreate the Black Sea as a
predominantly NATO surrounded lake. By taking Crimea, the Sea of Azov becomes a Russian controlled geopolitical and energy hub.
as the Russian presence on the Baltic Sea is Russia's 'window to the
west' to the north, the south and east of Ukraine bordering the Black
Sea are feared by NATO expansionists to be potential regions that could
decide to want reunion with Russia, including Odessa.
reassertion of Russian interests around the Black Sea coast and greater
ties with Russia ( Odessa was a creation of Catherine the Great in the
1790s ) would conclusive thwart the west's attempt to control gas and
oil pipeline flows from the Caspian Region and further afield.
To retain Crimea would also give Russia and Gazprom a greater stake in the exploration of the yet as untapped oil and gas potential of the Black Sea which otherwise, being surrounded and controlled by Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine and potentially exclude Russia interests.
without the Black Sea cost would be a large spur of land, majority
Ukrainian speaking, jutting out towards Kiev and with little
geopolitical value and shorn of the most valuable industries that lie in
the east towards the Russia border should those areas be forced out of Ukraine somehow.
The interim government in
Kiev under Arseniy Yatsenyuk would be better off putting out subtle
peace feelers to Russian speaking and ethnic Russians in Donetsk and
Kharkhiv and not using such language about getting back Crimea and
'burning the ground' beneath the feet of pro-Russian agitators there.