News / Europe

    Putin Strategy With Ukrainian Separatists Differs From Crimea

    Putin Strategy With Ukrainian Separatists Differs from Crimeai
    X
    Scott Stearns
    April 23, 2014 5:25 PM
    Russian President Vladimir Putin's approach to pro-Russian militants destabilizing southern and eastern Ukraine differs from his strategy on Crimea, where Russian forces took a more active role in breaking away the peninsula from Kyiv. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns looks at what is behind the change.
    Putin Strategy With Ukrainian Separatists Differs from Crimea
    Russian President Vladimir Putin's approach to pro-Russian militants destabilizing southern and eastern Ukraine differs from his strategy on Crimea, where Russian forces took a more active role in breaking away the peninsula from Kyiv.

    Massing Russian soldiers along the Ukrainian border mirrors the troop build-up that preceded Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

    Putin appears to have a different approach, however, to Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the southern and eastern provinces, some of whom want him to send troops to protect them.

    American University professor Keith Darden said Putin sees those separatists not as future Russians, but more as a lever to influence what happens in Ukraine.

    "Whereas Crimea he saw as a strategic asset that was important to pull away, the strategic value of the south and the east of Ukraine is within Ukraine as a bulwark against Kyiv turning further to the West, joining NATO, engaging more actively with the European Union. So he wants to keep them in Ukraine but more powerful," said Darden.

    Separatists in Donetsk are planning a Crimea-like referendum on leaving Ukraine.

    Denis Pushilin, one of the separatist leaders, said, "The referendum will make it possible for us to build a relationship with any other country, federalization or non-federalization, or just to gain independence."

    Federalism is the most likely way Moscow would seek to maintain its hold on Russian-speakers in the south and east. Such an outcome, though, would give up far too much to Putin, according to Heritage Foundation researcher Ariel Cohen.

    "What is really federalization of Ukraine? Federalization of Ukraine is rendering Ukraine impotent as a nation state.  It is dictating a constitutional change to a neighboring country. And I am wondering what would federalization mean for Russia itself?" asks Cohen.

    The Russian leader maintains that all Ukrainians should be free to choose their future, dismissing criticism that Moscow imposed the referendum on Crimea that led to annexation.  

    "If we are being honest and objective, then it will be clear to everyone that it is impossible to force people from their houses, their apartments under a gun and make them go to a polling station to vote," said Putin.

    Putin said he is open to resuming normal relations with the West. He also said there can be no comparing Kyiv's actions against pro-Russian separatists today with Moscow's campaign against Chechen separatists in the 1990s.

    "In the North Caucasus we were faced with an aggression by international terrorism. Those were properly-formed, well-prepared gangs supplied and armed from abroad. That is a big difference," said Putin.

    Reagan Administration Soviet advisor John Lenczowski said Putin's approach in Ukraine is rife with Soviet-era tactics.

    "Moscow is paranoid. This was a classic Soviet strategic deception theme," said Lenczowski. "It is designed to get everybody in the West to believe that we have to handle Moscow with kid gloves. 'We cannot provoke them too much, we cannot resist what they're doing or else it will provoke them and make things worse.'"

    Russia says its troops along the border are not meant to interfere in Ukraine and are there only as a precaution against any spillover of violence.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Brent from: California
    April 24, 2014 11:32 AM
    Russia is a nuclear power, but not a true superpower. Their economy is too one-dimensional and easy to crash. Their conventional military is not all that well-trained or well-equipped, certain "showcase" formations excepted. They can intimidate their neighbors, except China, as they are a fairly strong regional power in terms of ground forces. Force projection overseas is not something they can do like the USA, though. With the Special Relationship between the US and the UK, and the forces of NATO, Russia cannot intimidate the West.

    Putin likes to act like he is a true world player, but in reality he is a corrupt money-grabbing populist who has stolen vast sums of cash from his nation, along with his inner circle of weasels. If he did not have nukes, he would be ignored, and then spanked when he gets out of line. His nukes make him able to command a bit of attention, but he knows he cannot use them. In the end he is going to do what he always does - bluff and grab whatever he can steal on the cheap. That goes for cash and for land.

    He is a laugh using the same type of logic & excuses that Hitler did for moving into the Sudetenland. The only worry is that he pushes too far, like Saddam Hussein did, and end up crossing the line & attacking a NATO formation when he moves on Ukraine. That will end badly for him, but will also require Western nations to be resolute, and we need to be ready for it.

    by: gen from: Japan
    April 24, 2014 5:56 AM
    The separatists seems to change The extremist.They seems to be extremists like Ukraine right secter nationalists.
    Ukraine interim government ,USA,
    the easten separatists and the ukraine right secters,everybody seems to want Russia to come over the boder of Ukraine.Everybody calls for Russia army.
    But I think Russia don' need use their forces.Both The western and eastern sepratists are terrorists. They will have no
    choice but to wage bloodshed civil war between the twe.The Ukraine would collapse on their way.Russia would not help the extremists and criminals and Ukraine kiev begger govenment.Russia is one of superpowers in the world.They would not touch childish skirmishs in Ukraine. I think that all Russian have to do is to help the eastern pro-russian ordinary people after the collapse of Ukraine.

    by: Brent from: California
    April 23, 2014 4:18 PM
    Time to ready ourselves for war. That runt Putin is going to push the world into WWIII. He has already caused CWII - as in Cold War II. What a disturbed little dictator.
    In Response

    by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet - Africa
    April 24, 2014 4:03 AM
    Stand against the selfish interest of the West, you are a Dictator. Tilt in favour of the West, you are Democratic. Yes! Why not? Mind you, the world is no longer a puppet. It is very unfortunate that the "power holding gang of Ukraine" are so primitive that they can't read the hand writing on the wall - highly dependency! It is also no doubt that this power holding gang are Gays. So, the West love them and sooner than later, the West would start DICTATING for Ukraine what life styles and culture they MUST adopt. Then WHO IS A DICTATOR?

    Now, Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole has said that U.S. should send weapons, including tanks, to Ukraine, LOL. Imagine a dieing old man saying such. This shows how war mongering the US is. Then Ukraine, when weapons and tanks are sent to you, what does it mean to you... ? Absolute senseless!! Which Military is going to use it? And against who? Is it the Military that is giving sides to the Pro-Russians or is it for the demoralised Military of Ukraine? Do you think that sodiers are fools? Absolutely NO! There is no way the bloody civilians would continue to rubbish the government and expect them to go in and start fighting for them - old story! The Military is full of Coup d'état and counter Coup d'état, then what is happening today with the so-called Democracy? The forceful removal of legitimate and democratically elected president, is it not Coup d'état?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora