Yesterday an emergency Security Council meeting provided the stage for more talk on Ukraine. Steven Pifer still thinks a Russian military intervention to be unlikely–but it does seem to be clear that Putin is interested in more than Crimea. And the U.S. seems to understand that Putin is living a carefully developed fiction--one entirely of his own creation.
The U.S. take on events over the weekend:
This was no peaceful spring weekend for Ukraine. Coordinated, well-armed Russian-backed militants attacked government buildings in a professional operation in six cities in eastern regions. Many of the attackers were carrying Russian-origin weapons and outfitted in bulletproof vests and camouflage uniforms with insignia removed.
Observers on the ground saw that the events were carefully planned and orchestrated. In Kharkiv, as pro-Russian groups neared pro-Ukrainian protesters, women, children, and medics moved away, leaving only well-armed young men to approach the pro-Ukrainian protestors. These people were looking for a fight. The pro-Russian “demonstration” was in fact a bloody attack on peaceful, pro-unity demonstrators.
The attacks occurred simultaneously in multiple locations. These were not grass-roots political protests. These armed “demonstrators” took over government administration buildings and security headquarters, seized weapons, forced local officials to abandon their offices, and attacked communications towers.
Writing in the Guardian, Ian Black lays out five possible scenarios, including a Ukrainian use of force, Russian intervention, US/EU Sanctions, NATO intervention, as well as diplomacy (which didn’t work in the Crimean situation).