Ukraine Crisis Risks Spinning Out of Control, Samantha Power Says

The crisis in Ukraine is at risk of spinning out of control, a top U.S. diplomat said, as European leaders remained split over imposing deeper sanctions on Russia for backing a rebellion that’s killed thousands of people.

Russia must stop violating a Sept. 5 cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told journalists today, citing a growing number of military convoys in Ukraine’s rebel-held regions and increased shelling of the Donetsk airport. Ukraine’s foreign minister said his country is prepared to defend itself after NATO warned Russia was sending combat troops across its border. Russian President Vladimir Putin denies military involvement.

“Is there a risk that the situation is getting out of control? Yes, there is that risk,” Power said. It’s “an extremely worrying period.”

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2 comments on “Ukraine Crisis Risks Spinning Out of Control, Samantha Power Says

  1. Br. Michael says:

    The Russians will continue to advance until they are stopped. The Europeans and the West does not want war, but wishing it will go away and appeasement does not work either. If they choose dishonor they will have war anyway.

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I’m highly sympathetic to Br. Michael’s #1. There are more than a few modern Casandra’s warning us that Troy is in danger. But we’re not dealing with a phony gift of a Trojan (really Greek) Horse here, but with openly aggressive behavior by Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of advisers. Putin may not be quite as brazen as Stalin or Hitler were, but he’s not even really trying to conceal his ambitions to expand the Russian orbit of small franchises like the portions of Moldova and Georgia that are now occupied by Russian troops (and have been for years).

    Now granted, European leaders haven’t exactly acted like Neville Chamberlaine in futilely trying to appease Hitler by ceding Czechoslovakia to him. Real economic sanctions are being imposed, and they will have a significant impact on the weak Russian economy (which is smaller in terms of GDP than Italy, which is only about a third the size of Russia’s population). But there is very little evidence that this will actually do much to deter a reckless tyrant like Putin. At the same time, the stakes are even higher now than in the 1930s, because Putin has nuclear weapons; Hitler didn’t.

    Two further comments in passing.

    We Americans easily underestimate how long and hard is the struggle to achieve real democracy in regions that have never known anything like it. Just look at the vicious, tyrannical regimes that have come to power in Romania and Hungary, more than two decades after throwing off the yoke of Soviet oppression. It takes multiple generations to build into a culture the necessary preliminary conditions that allow a modern, European style democracy to take root and flourish. You can’t create such a culture overnight, by waving a magic wand, or investing billions of dollars, as we foolishly tried to do in Iraq. Ukraine had the dubious distinction of being commonly regarded by Western businessmen as the MOST corrupt government in all of eastern Europe,where bribes were accepted as an unsaavory cost of doing business. That doesn’t change overnight.

    2. Putin may well end up (in the short term) with part of eastern Ukraine, as well as Crimea. But the long term consequences of his aggression will be to turn the rest of the Ukraine all the more firmly against him and the Russian sense of “Manifest Destiny” that he expresses. Yes, Kiev is the capital of ancient Rus, the kingdom or empire presided over by St. Vladimir, for whom Putin is named. Yes, Ukrainian and Russian are so close as languages that speakers of both language4s can readily understand each other (like say, Norwegian and Swedish, or French and Italian, Spanish and Portugeeese, etc.). Culturally, Ukrainians and Russians are indeed “brothers,” as Putin likes to say. But sibling rivalry is real too, no one likes to be bullied, even by a brother.

    We in the West may have forgotten how Stalin starved over 20 million Ukrainians to death in his attempt to force the largest minority in the Soviet Empire into complete submission, but they have not forgotten that obscene form of genocide. Putin may win a battle or two, but he’s going to lose the longterm war. He’s going to turn a nation that ought to be, because of its cultural, linguistic, and historical ties, one of Russia’s good friends into one of its most fervent enemies.

    David Handy+