ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ukraine's Conflict and Resolution

The West - the European Union and the United States - has shown no qualms in supporting a coup led by ultranationalists to achieve geopolitical aims in Ukraine. The Russian actions in the semi-autonomous region of Crimea may be illegal de jure, but seem driven by the need to counter the West's influence in the country's "near abroad". As things stand, the events portend to a far from ideal conclusion to the Ukrainian crisis.

The immediate crisis in Ukraine seems to have been de-escalated. Russian President Vladimir Putin has commanded that the 1,50,000 Russian troops mobilised along the Ukraine-Russia border in early March be pulled back. He said that the use of force to save the Russian-speaking nationalities in southern and eastern Ukraine would only be the “last, very last resort”. Putin claimed that the allegations that the Russian military had seized installations within Crimea were wrong and only the local ethnic Russian Ukrainian nationals were involved. Moreover, Russia has legally signed bilateral agreements with Ukraine that gives it obligations and rights in Crimea and grants it a lease for a naval base in Sevastopol on the Black Sea that is critical for the Russian naval fleet. The presence of Russian soldiers is not new in this region but such aggravated tension certainly is.

Putin’s statements came after US President Barack Obama threatened Russia with “costs” which mean unilateral sanctions and trade barriers. This war of words and Russian actions plummeted the world markets into a brief spin. The European Union (EU) huddled into emergency talks even as Russia said that it would impose counter sanctions on Western countries. Moscow even talked to China and other countries, and the Western media started the rhetoric of a “New Cold War”. More is likely to follow, but what is the reality? What impact will it have on the international political system and what are the available options?

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