The Kiev Provisional Government Should Let Eastern Ukraine Go –Today The battle is lost. There is no way to fix this problem. Ukraine needs to focus on economic reconstruction in the West

WASHINGTON – I have said this before, and I’ll repeat it now: just like Crimea is gone –for good– Eastern Ukraine is also lost. In  previous articles posted here I stated that the only way in which the Kiev provisional government could bring this dangerous constitutional/territorial crisis to an end would be to immediately grant independence to the Eastern Provinces inhabited mostly by ethnic Russians and/or Russian speakers who have now decided that it is time to rejoin Mother Russia.

Let the East go

I wrote this before “the vote” just held in the East (Donetsk, Luhansk) had taken place. And now, after a vote (no matter how unconstitutional) in which it would appear that 80 to 90% of the people want to secede, I do not see any way in which this Moscow-inspired mess can be undone. There is no path leading Ukraine back to constitutional order, territorial integrity and respect for authority.

Fraudulent vote

Of course the Kiev people denounce the whole thing. This “vote” is an illegal and unconstitutional farce –they claim. In principle, they are right. But here we are not debating the issue before an impartial International Court with jurisdiction over the future of Ukraine. Here we have a political reality.

The ethnic Russians want to secede

Whatever their reasons, a majority of the Russian speakers in Eastern Ukraine said that they want to be part of Russia. And there are no organized groups saying the opposite. Or, at the very least, we cannot hear any strong voices in those Eastern regions asserting their desire to be part of Ukraine.

Of course, we may argue that “the loyalists” in the East are quiet because they have been intimidated and are therefore afraid to speak. Likewise, we may safely assume that the vote just held in the East was fraudulent, and therefore invalid.

But the truth is that Russia has openly encouraged this secession and the people in Eastern Ukraine welcomed the opportunity to rejoin Russia. And now they have a facade of a semi-legal claim. They “voted”, and they “freely expressed” their secession wishes. Now Moscow can argue, no doubt with a straight face, that it is all about the “right to self-determination” of an oppressed minority.

Crying foul will accomplish nothing

The Kiev provisional government can cry foul all it wants. Unless they want to engage in a (totally pointless and hopeless) military confrontation with Moscow that would simply prolong this agony without any purpose whatsoever, they should accept the facts on the ground.

They lost. They really lost. America will not escalate this crisis in order to protect the principles of the Ukrainian Constitution. (So far, the Pentagon pledged meals ready to eat, uniforms and socks, as “military aid” to the outnumbered Ukrainian military forces. No, this not a joke). And, if Obama is unwilling, forget about perpetually timid Europe.

Accept defeat in the East and focus on economic reconstruction in the West

Accepting this defeat is tough for the people in Kiev. But, realistically, they have no choice. Their real goal should be to start working on their future. And this means focusing (with Western help) on the economic reconstruction of their devastated country.

This is an almost impossible task assuming peace and quiet. Trying to work on tough economic problems while managing a secessionist movement in the East is totally unthinkable.

As painful as this is, the Kiev provisional government should accept reality and quickly come to a settlement. The people in Donetsk and Luhansk say they want to join Russia?

Let them go –today!

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