News Release

* Military Budget * Ukraine Disaster

RAED JARRAR, rjarrar at afsc.org, @raedjarrar
President Obama has warned of “draconian” military cuts. Jarrar is policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, Jarrar just wrote the piece: “B is for Billion: What Military Cuts?

LEV GOLINKIN, golinkin at gmail.com
Golinkin is the author of the recently-released A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, a memoir of Soviet Ukraine, which he left as a child refugee. See New York Times review: “Fleeing Ukraine With Little More Than Wit.”

Golinkin just wrote the piece “The Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine Demands Attention,” which states: “According to the latest, and admittedly conservative, UN estimates, the conflict in the southeastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbass) has resulted in over 5,000 deaths and 1.5 million refugees. For the forgotten 5.2 million who remain in Donbass, life since April 2014 has been a deadly kaleidoscope of warlords and armies, foreign fighters, shifting allegiances, morphing front lines, and indiscriminate carnage. … Kiev continues to add layers to its blockade, making it nearly impossible for food and medicine to reach the 3 million civilians in rebel-controlled areas of Donbass…”

NICOLAI PETRO, nnpetro at gmail.com
Petro is professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island and spent much of the last year on a Fulbright research scholarship in Ukraine. His pieces include “The Real War in Ukraine: The Battle over Ukrainian Identity.”

He said today: “This conflict is about whether Ukraine should be a monocultural or pluricultural nation. Peace is unlikely until Ukrainian politics are brought into conformity with the country’s bi-cultural reality.

“The gridlock of the past two decades that prevented reforms, were Ukraine’s way of dealing with its internal split. When advocates of Western Ukraine ousted the popularly elected president in February 2014, they broke the fragile balance and conflict became inevitable.

“The new political majority in Kiev believes it can create a culturally homogeneous Ukraine in which the East is assigned a permanent subordinate status. Military victory over the rebels might give them the power to do this, but Kiev’s unwillingness to compromise means more or less permanent turmoil in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country.
“Western proposals that ignore the domestic roots of this conflict cannot succeed in achieving a viable Ukraine.”

See his timeline of the collapse of the Minsk accords.

Background: Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev recently stated: “Plainly speaking, the U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its triumphalism.” See: “As Ukraine Spirals Again into Violence, U.S. Contemplates Pouring Fuel on Fire.”