Understanding on Ukraine

It is a promising sign that both the United States and Russia are keeping their cool over Ukraine.

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Published: Thu 27 Feb 2014, 8:14 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:31 PM

The media talks that have emanated from Washington and Moscow hint at a fresh understanding of geopolitical realities. Both the major powers want the transition to be without any fresh upheavals. The most articulate stance came from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said, “It was in Russia’s interest for Ukraine to be part of the broad European family, but against Russia’s interest to allow the radicals and nationalists who are clearly trying to take centre stage to prevail.” The concerns are well-founded, especially taking into account the historic, cultural and geographical proximity that Russia has with Ukraine.

The US and Europe, nonetheless, must be assured by Lavrov’s statement when he said that Russia has no plans to intervene in the crisis-ridden country, and plans to stay aloof from meddling in its internal affairs. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, who now enjoys a special rapport with Lavrov after having strategically interacted with him over the deals with Syria and Iran, has reciprocated by saying that “Ukraine is not caught in a battle between East and West”.

The prime objective for both Russia and the US should be to ensure that the cross-currents do not lead to radicalism in Ukraine, and no movement for separatism takes roots amidst the unrest. That fear was categorically expressed by the interim President Oleksandr Turchynov, who said that regions with large ethnic Russian populations are against the recent developments, and could resort to chauvinist action. That is why European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton believes that the new dispensation in Kiev should embrace the political allies of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych to make it a balanced political canvas.

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