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Roundup: Opinions on Ukraine From American and Foreign Media

A woman walks past as Ukrainian riot police stand at the entrance of the regional administrative building in Donetsk, Ukraine, March 7, 2014.

A woman walks past as Ukrainian riot police stand at the entrance of the regional administrative building in Donetsk, Ukraine, March 7, 2014.

The crisis in Ukraine has captured global attention and is generating a wide spectrum of opinion on its causes and solutions. Newspapers, blogs and other media are publishing a variety of commentaries and editorials on what’s to be done and who’s to blame.

Each day, VOA will curate a selection of these editorial opinions, highlight selections, and offer them for our readers’ consideration.

The opinions expressed below are, of course, those of the authors, not the Voice of America.

"When Putin Invaded My Country" Editorial by Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, published in the Washington Post.

Why should the West care about what happens in Ukraine? We are seeing not just the slicing up of Europe’s largest country but also the destruction of post-Cold War order in Europe

This order was based on clear rules that not only protect small countries but also ensure stability and prosperity for the bigger ones, protect minorities and settle conflicts by peaceful mechanisms.

Think of the ramifications if borders across the continent were to revert to ethnic lines. If there are no longer any rules, a spiraling cycle of violence and destruction is inevitable.

Such an outcome could still be avoided. The U.S. sanctions announced Thursday are a good first step. They should be implemented immediately, and Europe needs to strengthen its own response.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova should be put on fast-track accession to the European Union and granted membership action plans for NATO to demonstrate that Russia cannot seize its ends through illegal means."

"Formally Recognize Ukraine; Prepare NATO Troops" Zbigniew Brezinski, former US National Security Advisor, published in the Christian Science Monitor.

The strategy of the West at this moment should be to complicate Vladimir Putin’s planning. He should be given options to avoid conflict. But he should also be made aware of the very negative consequences for Russia that would follow the outbreak of armed conflict.

By options, I mean that we should indicate to Russia that we prefer a peaceful accommodation in Ukraine, and NATO should invite the Russians to participate in its ongoing discussions about this crisis.

But, at the same time, we should let the Russians know we are not going to be passive.

First, we have to formally recognize the new government in Ukraine, which I believe expresses the will of the people there. It is the legitimate government. And interference in Ukrainian affairs should be considered a hostile act by a foreign power.

Further, we should put NATO contingency plans into operation, deploying forces in Central Europe so we are in a position to respond if war should break out and spread."

"Russia Enabled by West's Foreign Policies of Vacillation, Uncertainty" Andrew Coyne, political columnist, published in the Toronto Sun.

"Yes, we should try diplomatic and economic sanctions, escalating or de-escalating depending on how far Russia cooperates or fails to do so.

But the likelihood of these having much effect must be doubted: Russia may well believe it can ride out international opprobrium over Crimea, and on the evidence of past atrocities — Tiananmen, anyone? — it is probably right.

It can, however, be deterred from further such adventures. At a minimum, we should immediately bulk up forces in NATO member states in the region; and, as soon as possible, admit Ukraine and Georgia as members.

The trip wires must be laid out in plain sight, so that there can be no doubt as to the consequences if Russia crosses them."

"Crimean Invasion Is Worse Than a Crime" Konstantin Sonin, professor at Higher School of Economics in Moscow, published in the Moscow Times.

As many observers have warned in recent years, the government and presidential administration have completely dismantled all feedback mechanisms from the public or other independent sources.

The actions and statements of Russian leaders indicate that they lack credible information about what is happening not only in Kiev, Donetsk and Simferopol, but also in Russia and in the world.

And, as strange as it is for the regime to issue blatant misrepresentations and exaggerations for the consumption of a savvy and well-informed foreign public, when the regime begins basing its own strategic decisions on such fallacious ideas, major blunders are inevitable.

That problem results in part from the authorities' decision to "cleanse" the media environment, thereby silencing the critics' voices. It also results from the falsification of the results of 2011 State Duma elections, resulting in a lack of representation for those Russians who do not support the military action in Ukraine.