A UN Security Council resolution seeks to isolate Russia over its sending of approximately 20,000 troops into Ukraine. In an obvious attempt to rig the process, Crimea is calling an election this Sunday over joining Russia and seceding from Ukraine. There is no place on the ballot for a "no" vote, allowing Crimea to remain part of Ukraine. Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk confronted Russia yesterday over the situation; however, both sides agreed in principle that war was not the answer.
At the Security Council meeting, Yatsenyuk reiterated Ukraine's desire for a dialog, saying his nation has had "warm and friendly relations" with neighboring Russia for decades, and that he is also convinced "that Russians do not want war."
"This aggression has no reasons and no grounds," Yatsenyuk said. "This is absolutely and entirely unacceptable in the 21st century, to resolve any kind of conflict with tanks, artillery and boots on the ground."
"And I hope that the Russian government and the Russian president will heed the wishes of their people and that we return urgently to dialogue and solve this conflict," he said.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, speaking after Yatsenyuk at the Security Council meeting, said, "Russia does not want war and neither do the Russians, and I'm convinced the Ukrainians don't want that either."
However, Churkin did not respond to Yatsenyuk's call for talks. Instead, he urged a return to a European-mediated plan in which Ukrainian protest leaders and the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich agreed on Feb. 21 to form a new government and hold an early election.
The hope is that China will abstain from the resolution even though Russia will likely veto it. China has historically backed Russia in recent years, including Syria. However, China has downplayed the Ukraine crisis in its state-run media and has come out neutral. For instance, they back Putin's line that the ethnic Russian minorities have to be protected. However, they also say that Ukraine's territorial integrity must be respected.
Condemning violences over the past days in Ukraine, Qin said China has been urging all parties in Ukraine to address their domestic disputes peacefully in accordance with the country's law, safeguard the legitimate rights of the Ukrainian people of all ethnics, and restore social order as soon as possible.While both sides say that they do not want war, the US has dealt with secession issues in its past. The secession of South Carolina in December 1860 was the immediate trigger for the Civil War, which started four months later. However, in the meantime, there were four months of diplomatic wrangling before hostilities actually commenced at the Battle of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. There was even a peace conference in February of 1861, which failed to resolve the differences. The Civil War resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives, more than all of our other wars. Similar to Ukraine, there was a prolonged siege of Fort Sumter as well as the seizure of federal property in South Carolina, including guns, installations, and ammunition.
Qin said China always sticks to the principle of non-interference in any country's internal affairs and respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The conflict also points to a larger crisis between NATO and Russia. Back in 1990, following the collapse of Communism, the US had promised Russia that it would not expand beyond a certain point. This has been documented.
After speaking with many of those involved and examining previously classified British and German documents in detail, SPIEGEL has concluded that there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.However, it was never formally put into writing, which allowed NATO to expand to the east with impunity over the next 20+ years. However, it has now come to to a point where NATO has to come to terms with the limits of its expansion. There is simply nowhere else for them to grow. They may be able to peel off Ukraine if Russia follows through and annexes Crimea, but that will be it. Spigel notes that when certain elements in Hungary sought to break away from the Warsaw Pact during their 1956 uprising, that gave the USSR the pretext it needed to invade Hungary.
On Feb. 10, 1990, between 4 and 6:30 p.m., Genscher spoke with Shevardnadze. According to the German record of the conversation, which was only recently declassified, Genscher said: "We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east." And because the conversion revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: "As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general."
Shevardnadze replied that he believed "everything the minister (Genscher) said."