Separatists, many of them of Russian descent, believe that the government in Kiev is illegitimate since it formed after what they call the illegal ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych in February. They have demanded that no one in Kiev should control their territory, saying that power and responsibility should rest with them or their Russian ally.Now, if the West backed the Ukrainian coup because it wants a war with Russia for one reason or another, their actions make sense. But if they simply wanted to pull Ukraine out of the Russian orbit while avoiding military action, they appear to have badly miscalculated.
Officials in Kiev have the opposite view. They accuse Moscow of meddling, in its support of separatists and more, trying to break up Ukraine and, perhaps, take over parts or all of it. The government explains their military and security actions in the east and south are aimed at a common goal: to keep their Eastern European nation whole and united.
Referring to his call with Lavrov on Saturday, Kerry said he stressed the United States and allies' desire "for Russia to withdraw support from the separatists, ... assist in removing people from the buildings (and begin) to de-escalate the situation."
No one, in Eastern or Western Ukraine, views the current government as legitimate, for the very good reason that it is not. The separatists are in the legal right, and Russia has as much right to govern their territory as the officials in Kiev do. Since they prefer the Russians, under the right of self-determination, the USA should, by rights, be backing Russian intervention.
It is not, obviously, because it supported the coup in the first place, and that's giving the USA the benefit of the doubt, and assuming, contra some indications, that it was not primarily responsible for the coup in the first place. But regardless, making a public appeal to a nonexistent government authority that no one recognizes isn't fooling anyone and it isn't clever, it simply makes US diplomacy look as if it is being run by low-IQ amateurs.
Perhaps that is the idea and there are much larger plans within plans being played out here. I'm not privy to such lofty discussions. But if I lived in Taiwan, I'd be leaving right around now. And if I lived in Japan, I'd be looking to move to the countryside. Trusting these masters of geopolitics to provide protection from China, even if war in Ukraine is somehow avoided, seems like a bad idea.
UPDATE: The Russian warning could not be much more overt:
Speaking in Moscow yesterday, Mr Peskov said: "People are calling in despair, asking for help. The overwhelming majority demand Russian help. All these calls are reported to [President] Vladimir Putin." He made clear that the Russian government blamed the West for the worsening situation, while stressing the need for "dialogue" towards a peaceful resolution. "Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it. Those who recognise this junta as a legal power become an accomplice to this crime."The Ukraine "government" in Kiev isn't legitimate by any standard of which I am aware, and those supporting it are, as the Russians have correctly pointed out, going to be seen as responsible for provoking the ongoing bloodshed.
UPDATE 2: This bodes well:
Citing unnamed German security sources, Bild am Sonntag said the CIA and FBI agents were helping Kiev end the rebellion in the east of Ukraine and set up a functioning security structure. It said the agents were not directly involved in fighting with pro-Russian militants. "Their activity is limited to the capital Kiev," the paper said.I imagine the White House doesn't want to see CIA and FBI agents captured and paraded before the global media. They had better hope the Russians don't have anyone in Kiev.