Crimea: The last bloodless secession of a Ukraine region?

Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, acting Ukrainian Prime Minister, José Manuel Barroso EU Commission President and Andrus Ansip, Estonian Prime Minister (in the foreground, from right to left). From the extraordinary meeting of heads of state or government of the EU, hosted by Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, which focused on the situation in Ukraine. (EC Audiovisual Services, 06/03/2014).

Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, acting Ukrainian Prime Minister, José Manuel Barroso EU Commission President and Andrus Ansip, Estonian Prime Minister (in the foreground, from right to left). From the extraordinary meeting of heads of state or government of the EU, hosted by Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, which focused on the situation in Ukraine. (EC Audiovisual Services, 06/03/2014).

There is no doubt about the outcome of the referendum on Crimea’s future annexation to Russia. It’s not only that 68% of the Crimean population is of Russian origin and speak Russian. The omnipotent presence of the Russian armed forces in the peninsula, the transparent ballot boxes and the fact that there are no envelopes to hide the ballots, all that made sure that the results of the referendum will be overwhelmingly in favour of the annexation to Russia. This might take a few days, but soon Crimea will return to Russia where it belonged until 1954.

There is also no doubt that the West will not recognize the legality and the validity of this referendum. Even from the very first day it was announced, both the European Union and the US denounced it as a breach to Ukraine’s constitution and contrary to international law. Yesterday, the day of the ballot, the two EU Presidents, Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council and José Manuel Barroso head of the European Commission issued a joint statement. It said that “The referendum is illegal and illegitimate and its outcome will not be recognised. The solution to the crisis in Ukraine must be based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, in the framework of the Ukrainian Constitution as well as the strict adherence to international standards”.

Donetsk and Kharkiv

It is in doubt though what will happen in Donetsk and Kharkiv. Yesterday, in the former city, pro-Russian protestors, most of whom are of Russian origin, stormed the offices of the prosecutor appointed by Kiev. They demanded that Pavel Gubarev be released from prison , a well-known pro-Russian leader who was arrested earlier, on not quite clearly defined charges. This arrest is of course a direct challenge for the mainly Russian population of this region. The storming of the offices of the prosecutor is an equally challenging act by the local pro-Russian activists.

An impartial observer will certainly conclude that both sides in these incidents are trying to provoke each other. Already Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, didn’t lose the opportunity and tried to make the most of it. According to international news agencies, Putin spoke yesterday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, about the situation in Donetsk. The fact that demonstrators in the streets of this city shout “Donetsk is a Russian city”, gives him this right. The statement Putin reportedly made in this conversation was that ‘he is concerned about the action of radicals who had the blessing of Kiev’. Obviously, this is as if Putin announced the next step, closer to a definite rupture.

Russia won’t let go

In reality, what Putin said in this occasion is that ‘mother’ Russia won’t miss the slightest opportunity to intervene in Donetsk, if its ‘children’ there will be in danger. The problem is that there are probably people in Kiev who are willing to give this opportunity to Putin. The question which arises then is will the West exert effective control on the people who can give Putin his opportunity?

As things stand now, Russia seems determined to repeat the Syrian sequel to avoid the losses it endured in Libya. To be reminded that the West destroyed the Gaddafi regime and with it Libya, after Russia was convinced to abstain in the crucial UN Security Council vote. It seems that Putin has bitterly regretted that, and took a completely different and quite confrontational stance when the same question was asked about Syria. In this case, he actually provoked the US to bomb Damascus after the Russian made and probably also operated Syrian air defenses shot down two Turkish fighter jets, which violated the Syrian air space. Only then the US and the West accepted that Russia and its local agent Bashar al-Assad were a part of the solution and not of the problem.

Recruiting ‘armies in black’

Unfortunately, now it’s not at all clear up to which point the Western powers want to push the Ukrainian affair. In any case, Russia and Putin are doing whatever they can to convince the West that Moscow will not back off, especially when Kiev puts question marks over cities, like Donetsk and Kharkiv. It’s unthinkable for any government in Moscow, let alone Putin, to let those two cities and the other Russian speaking populations in the east of Ukraine go under a Kiev regime like the present one. It is an undeniable truth that the interim President and the Ukrainian government are chosen and appointed by the ‘regiments’, which occupied the Maidan (Independence Square) after the ordinary protestors went home.

Alas, the forces of Ukraine’s destruction are already gathering momentum. This week the fascists of the Right Sector occupied two or three buildings in Maidan and are openly recruiting more “soldiers in black”. Even the government of Ukraine is recruiting a new army of its own in the Maidan, because they don’t trust the regular forces for the dirty business they have in mind. Just the fact that those new armies are now being openly organized is a clear omen that the next phase will be a military confrontation, to the detriment of continental Europe and the entire world.

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