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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Battle for Eastern Ukraine Is Underway -- The pro-Russian protesters are bussed-in from Russia, but Putin knows that Kiev's hold on the region is weak -- By Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal

Donetsk, Ukraine
 
Crimea was the appetizer. The real prize for Vladimir Putin is likely to be eastern Ukraine. Without this vast region of coal mines and factories, the Kremlin strongman won't be able to achieve his goal of either controlling, destabilizing or splitting Ukraine. Otherwise the takeover of the country's southern peninsula hardly seems worth the trouble.

The Kremlin's claims about the importance of ethnic Russian identity and language are just a sideshow in the struggle here. What's going on is a pure power play. Since Mr. Putin has nuclear weapons and no apparent care for world opinion, give him an edge. But eastern Ukraine won't be as easy to snare as Crimea, and the attempt could backfire on Mr. Putin.

The Russian president is a man in a hurry. Russia has taken advantage of the inevitable chaos and uncertainty in post-revolutionary Kiev. A Moscow ally abandoned the presidency and fled town, and new pro-Western leaders formed a government only last Thursday. With each passing day, they should be getting a better grip over their state. The clock is perhaps their only true friend.

 The Russian move on the east, beyond Crimea, began Saturday with protests in the industrial centers of Kharkiv, Donetsk and other cities. Television showed squares filled with thousands of Ukraine's ethnic Russians. Fiery speeches were made, local government buildings were stormed and topped with Russian flags, and calls for Moscow's help were issued by little-known local politicians. Right on cue, Russia's parliament accepted Mr. Putin's request to deploy military forces in Ukraine, citing "the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation." He gave himself the green light to go beyond Crimea.
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