Ukraine Crisis Escalates
Unfortunately, this week of escalated fighting in Ukraine began with Russia violating its promise to respect the outcome of the May 25th Presidential election when it attempted to use an emergency meeting with the UN Security Council to declare the Ukrainian military’s crackdown on pro-Russian rebels criminal. This apparent copycat strategy, likely patterned after America’s initial calls for restraint on behalf of the Assad Regime and the defense of humanitarian corridors as the Syrian Civil War unfolded, seems to be a means of legitimizing ongoing Russian interference in Ukraine. Unlike in Syria, the government crackdown is aimed at armed rebels who decided to forcefully takeover Ukrainian territory, not peaceful protestors seeking political freedom.
Given that we do not know exactly how Russia is connected to these armed pro-Russian groups and Russia did use its armed forces to seize the Ukrainian territory of Crimea just months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin likely does not intend to respect President-elect Petro Poroshenko’s authority or Ukraine’s sovereignty. As Ukraine’s crackdown on the armed rebels is not going terribly well, the new government risks losing its credibility. At the same time, waning international support demanded strong leadership. As such President Obama must back his renewed commitment to Ukraine by taking concrete action against Russia in order to lead the International Community, as the US helps the Ukrainian government and military regain control over its borders.
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