Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ukraine Clashes Leaves 26 Dead And 425 Injured, Will Russia Intervene Militarily?

With Ukraine on the verge of all out civil war, one has to wonder if Putin will intervene militarily after the Sochi Olympics are concluded.  You wouldn't think Putin would take such a drastic action, but Vladimir is unpredictable and he doesn't want to lose the Ukraine to the EU. 

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has just granted the military a green light to shoot and kill protesters.  26 people were killed and nearly 425 injured last night alone in fighting...but this new order to shoot to kill will only inflame the situation.

President Viktor Yanukovych fired his military chief (Volodymyr Zaman) and replaced him with navy chief Yuriy Ilyin before announcing the decree.  The Ukraine military announced it would take part in a national anti-terrorist operation to restore order.  I suspect Yanukovych fired his military chief because Zamam refused to order his troops to shoot and kill fellow Ukrainians. 

Many Ukrainians are speculating the military (soldiers on the ground) may side with the opposition, rather than the government.  If that indeed occurs, I think that's when you will see Russian military involvement.  Putin gave Ukraine a fresh cash injection of $2 billion last Monday in a carrot and stick scheme, however, if Putin thinks a new Orange Revolution is in the works, his financial aid may well turn into military intervention.

The United States and the EU are threatening sanctions if Yanukovych resorts to a government sponsored killing spree, but that will be ineffective in my opinion.  Western countries would be better served to threaten Putin with sanctions if he intervenes militarily.

With the 2016 presidential election in mind, the Obama White House is allowing Vice President Biden to look 'presidential' during this potential armed conflict.  Vice President Biden called the Ukrainian President on Monday to express "deep concern about the situation in Ukraine and the growing potential for violence."   

The White House statement reads:

"The Vice President underscored the need to immediately de-escalate the situation and begin a dialogue with opposition leaders on developing a consensus way forward for Ukraine.  "He (Biden) noted that violence has no place in a democratic society and is incompatible with our strategic relationship.  "The Vice President reaffirmed the strong support of the United States for Ukraine's European aspirations and welcomed President Yanukovych's commitment to maintaining this path."

We will no doubt see Biden taking a more prominent role in the media spotlight over the next 2 years in an effort to burnish his credibility with the voters.  As long as they don't let Biden push any buttons or give him the nuke codes, all should be well.  It really doesn't matter if it's Biden, John Kerry or Barack Obama urging restraint or threatening sanctions, they are both viewed as weak by all parties involved. 

Short lived truce is shattered by renewed fighting.  Chaos broke out in Independence Square, leaving at least 22 dead.  READ MORE HERE

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