The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Insurgents Balk at Pact, Keeping Grip in Ukraine,” shows the delicate nature of the surprise agreement in Geneva between Russia and Ukraine, primarily because the masked militants are refusing to go along with it.
The pro-Russian forces who have seized government buildings in East Ukraine, many believe with tangible support from Vladimir Putin, refused to honor the agreement. This development called into question the whole diplomatic process and made many wonder if it was just a ruse by Russia to avoid sanctions.
Of course, the Russians claim to have no power over these militants, but unless the impasse is broken, Ukraine will move in with its “counter-terrorism” forces to take back its government buildings. If there is resistance, that could spur the Russians to invade like they did in Crimea. And it would probably mean annexation of more of the country.
Mr. Putin, a former KGB agent, is probably working three steps ahead of the rest of us, and the increase in his popularity after the annexation of Crimea cannot bode well for other areas of Ukraine. He is known to want to restore the Soviet empire, and one wonders if he is just getting started.
Suspicions are running high, and the United States is conducting military exercises in eastern Europe to make sure Putin’s ambitions do not extend to any of the new NATO countries.