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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid