Ukraine is a dangerous situation because the U.S., at least verbally, is threatening Russia and because Putin and Obama, at least in public, analyze, understand and see the situation there in very different ways. We do not know what was said when Obama and Putin recently conversed at length by telephone. The U.S. and E.U. have embraced the revolution, while Russia does not see that riots are part of a democratic process.
A key problem in Ukraine is that there is a strong right-wing, ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi type party and other similar groups that have played a key role in generating the violence that brought down the government and breaking an agreement reached in late February. Putin’s rationale for a Russian presence in Ukraine includes reference to this destabilizing and violent element. On the other hand, the public statements of Kerry and Obama focus almost solely on Russia’s reactions and on generalities about democracy and the Ukrainian people. Putin has not, however, said anything against that democratic aspiration. He sees the Svoboda party as having undermined it.
The U.S. government, for reasons that have to do with its own power and dominance, supports violent revolutions of its choosing, calling them “democratic”. Those violent activities that go contrary to its objectives are called “terrorist”. In both cases, the U.S. meddles.
To understand Ukraine, the following sources are useful. For a detailed scholarly account of the rise of the ultra-nationalist far right and its fascist heart, see here. This was written before the Ukraine erupted.
For a scholarly and objective account of how these protests began and evolved, see here. This article explains the escalation and participation of various groups and segments of the population.
For a timeline of events through Feb. 20, see here.
For some mainstream commentary on the legitimacy of the interim “government”, see here.
There is controversy over who were the snipers. Some of that is discussed here.
Is the U.S. backing neo-nazis in Ukraine or embracing them too much? That question is raised here.8:08 am on March 3, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff