With apologies to the FP for stealing their title series, I thought it'd be useful to bring together some of the users who can offer some clarity on the situation in Ukraine, either by virtue of being Ukrainian, having spent time there, speaking one or more of the languages involved, or otherwise staying informed, being connected on the issue, etc. I'm not sure who's going to be joining us tonight, but I sent out a few emails - to people on both sides of the original issue and a few points in between, although that's become moot in the last few days - and I got a few confirmations, at least. (And I hope by posting this I'll attract a few more.)
As the discussion evolves, I'll post a list of questions in the diary with links to the comment threads, so that users who join us later can see what issues are being discussed, specifically. Please remember that many of us have personal, non-trivial stake in what happens in Ukraine, including worries over the safety of family and friends... so we'll keep the rhetoric level, and ask that you do the same.
In the meantime, and in the spirit of the FP's series: ask us anything! What issues have you been curious about?
The Questions so far:
- How important is oil to this story?
- Is Chernobyl secure?
- Who ordered the sniper fire in late February? (re: this recently leaked phone call)
- Is the view from the ground as bad as the media makes it out to be?
- Is Russian military really in Crimea?
- What about the American diplomat's leaked conversation? What should we take away from that?
- Why isn't there another vowel in Lviv?
- Is there an easy way to explain what's happening there?
- What's the role of the IMF in all this?
- What can the US learn from this? And what can/should the US be doing?
- Why are some of these place names (like Kyiv/Kiev) spelled/pronounced differently?
- What effect will US/Russian relations have on our space program?
- Why does Russia have a port in Crimea in the first place?
I'll keep updating at least the next couple of hours, so bring your questions!
I'd also like to thank everyone who's come here to participate and lend their expertise to the discussion.
[midnight] I want to thank everyone again for participating. We'll do another one of these down the road, hopefully earlier in the day so that East Coasters can participate. If there are questions left overnight I'll get to them in the morning. Thanks, everyone!