The situation is heating up at the moment. The ethnic Russians of Crimea, which is an autonomous region of Ukraine but until the 1950’s was part of Russia is making a very determined effort to separate itself from the rest of Ukraine. Putin now has approval from the Duma, Russian parliament, to protect Russians in Ukraine, militarily if need be.
So what might happen. Obviously this is a very fluid situation at the moment. We have both Ukraine and Russia saying they want to maintain the geographic integrity of the country. If that will actually happen is another question. There is no denying the fact that eastern Ukraine is inhabited by predominantly ethnic Russians who want to have closer ties to the motherland. The easiest solution would be for Ukraine to split along ethnic lines.
However if there is a fight between the two countries the outcome would not necessarily be guaranteed for Russia. While it does have a very big army it also has a big problem, namely a very top heavy command structure. Officers make a very big proportion of its fighting force and they have spent the last decades working on making themselves richer rather than acting as one would expect them to. They simply are not battle ready for a genuine fight on a large scale. Add to this the fact that when the Soviet Union collapsed a lot of military manufacturing plants that were placed in Ukraine by the Soviet leadership were handed over to Ukraine.
It is true that Ukraine simply didn’t have the funds to keep a lot of these factories going and closed a lot of them. But over the last few years Ukraine has slowly been developing a name for itself as an arms exporter of Russian copy weapons. The reason for this is due to the fact that Ukrainian engineering is seen as being of higher quality than that of Russia. If the two countries do come into combat against each other then Ukraine will have access to higher quality equipment of the same make that Russia also uses.
Then you have to throw into the equation the fact that Ukraine has pretty much run out of money. Unless it can get some financial backing from somewhere it simply wont be able to afford a war to resist Russia if it attacks, at the same time it might feel that desperate times call for desperate measures and throw everything it has at Russia, which I have to say would give Russia something to seriously think about. Russia is not as militarily strong as she portrays herself to be and Putin knows this.
So where does this leave things? For the time being, until things become more apparent, I would say that eastern Ukraine will ultimately return to Russia, and with it very good agricultural land that would be good for Russia as it has very little of its own.
Then of course we have to throw The USA into the pot. These are two countries which thrive on trying to outwit the other. What will USA involvement be, only time will tell, but I can assure you that it wont be able to resist using the situation to try and stir up the Russia/Ukraine situation for its own benefit. I’m not taking sides, Russia also takes every opportunity it can to make life more difficult for the USA. That is the nature of their rivalry.
The next few days will throw more light on the situation. At the end I am trying to get across the fact that if Russia is looking for a war it wont be like taking on Georgia as she did a couple of years ago, admittedly it was Georgia who started that fight. Ukraine might be poor but she also has certain strengths which will give Russia pause for thought. Watch this space.