Trusting Russia on Ukraine

The US and Russia, along with NATO and Ukrainian officials, talked about setting up a peace-keeping force to get and maintain peace in Ukraine.  Interestingly, that force would be placed along the front that separates the Russian and rebel-held eastern Ukraine from the rest of the nation instead of being on the Ukrainian border with Russia.  The proposal also carefully ignored the status of Russia-occupied Crimea.  A US counterproposal, offered by the US’ chief negotiator, Kurt Volker, suggested that the force should include, also, that border—not instead of the front—while still ignoring Crimea.

During a panel discussion held by a number of former US diplomats that included Mike McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia and Volker, McFaul asked Volker

Tell us why the factors are different in this particular case that would lead to a different scenario than a permanent division that we have in Cyprus[.]

Volker’s answer?

Mr Volker said the peacekeeping plan would only work if both the Ukrainians and Russians want peace.

Who’s definition of “peace?”  Russia doesn’t want peace except on occupation of eastern Ukraine, retention of Crimea, and control over rump Ukraine.

Volker is a rabbit remonstrating with a Russian bear. Volker thinks the Russian ways are wrong. Russia thinks Volker is lunch. He’s embarrassing us.

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