News / Europe

    Russia and West in Chess Match Over Ukraine

    Russia and West in Chess Match Over Ukrainei
    X
    Mary Motta
    April 08, 2014 9:35 PM
    Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, the West is trying to work out what the Kremlin's next move will be. Both the United States and Britain have expressed concern about Russia's troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. VOA's Mary Motta looks at President Vladimir Putin's strategy in what has become an increasingly tense geopolitical chess game between East and West.
    Mary Motta
    Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, the West is trying to work out what the Kremlin's next move will be. Both the United States and Britain have expressed concern about Russia's troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. President Vladimir Putin's strategy has become an increasingly tense geopolitical chess game between East and West.

    Russian troops are trying to destabilize Ukraine, claim U.S. and British officials.

    But Russia's foreign minister says that is not case.

    "We are deeply convinced and nobody has so far challenged this conviction, that the situation cannot be calmed down and changed into national dialogue if the Ukrainian authorities go on ignoring the interests of the southeastern regions of the country," said Sergei Lavrov.

    Moscow now has thousands of troops massed along its border with eastern Ukraine.  And although it insists it has no intention of invading, Moscow says it reserves the right to defend ethnic Russians in the country.

    Analyst Irina Tymczyszyn says Russia has a very clear mandate.

    “The Russian strategy appears to be to restore the Soviet Union as it was before the collapse, before 1991, and possibly more.  I think Putin considers himself to be the collector of Russian lands, and by Russia he unfortunately means countries like the Ukraine, because Russia has not recognized to date Ukraine as a separate state," said Tymczyszyn.

    In Kyiv, a meeting between the parliament and communist deputies ended in a scuffle, highlighting the high level of tensions within the country’s borders.

    "Pre-planned and coordinated provocation against our country has started.  It was organized by the intelligence services in the Russian Federation," said Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov.

    But the head of the Communist Party in Ukraine countered that comment, blaming inaction by Ukrainian officials who they say ignored the needs of the people.

    "The most important thing is to answer the question what exactly the Ukrainian authorities did in order to prevent these events in the asset," said Petro Symonenko. "Let’s start with analyzing the demands of the citizens - who remain the people of Ukraine - living in Luhansk, Donetsk and other regions they came to the streets with, and what rights they want to defend?"

    In the flashpoint town of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, residents also remain split.

    "We demand a referendum.  And the gang which is now meeting at the parliament should not impose their opinion on us," said a protester.

    "The situation we have in Kharkiv now is being escalated solely by the Russian side.  It is in Russia’s interest to return Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk under its control, it is in its interest," said another.

    Analyst Tymczyszyn agrees:

    "Right now, the West is sending a message which is very different, just indicating consistent quiet dismay over Putin’s actions.  For him, it means he can go ahead and do as he pleases because he does not feel the response will be sufficiently damaging to him," she said.

    But the political chess game continues to be played out on the border of Ukraine and Russia with no clear winner in sight.  Though analysts say it is clear that Putin is determined to be the victor, and likely before the May 25th elections in Ukraine.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora