The diplomats are thinking of ways to stop the fighting in the Donbass, and a way to help Vladimir Putin to “save face” in order to get him to stop supporting (and coordinating) the so-called “separatists” now holed up in Donetsk and Luhansk
See Maria Tsvetroya and Noah Barkin (Donetsk and Berlin), “Advancing Ukraine troops take fight to heart of pro-Moscow rebellion,” August 19, 2014 (3:52pm EDT).
Why should the West do that?
Why should the West do anything to help Putin save face?
Leaders and diplomats need to stop and think. Is it always best to “freeze” a hostage situation when the criminals are armed, have already killed many people, and more people are dying each day as the security forces seek to disarm the criminals and restore public order?
There is only one thing that should be negotiated with the “separatists” and Vladimir Putin—the man who sent them to invade the eastern Ukraine: the terms of their surrender, which might possibly include transit out of the country to Russia.
To seek to oblige the Ukraine to surrender part of its sovereignty (by agreeing to Russian demands regarding its domestic affairs) so that the military aggressor will cease his aggression, is simply to continue down the road of appeasement which led us to where we are today.
Vladimir Putin is responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 people in the eastern Ukraine.
No one should help him save face for launching a military invasion by irregular forces, in flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter and international law, in the eastern Ukraine.
International law must be upheld.
It is not the task of international law to help an aggressor save face, just as it is not the task of law in a domestic situation to help a hostage-taker or murderer save face.
A larger issue is also involved here. Putin and his war propaganda machine are responsible for fanning the flames of xenophobic nationalism and support for policies of aggression in Russia. The biggest challenge for the West is to find ways to put out the flames of that zenophobic and irredentist nationalism, before it shows up again at the borders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Putin should not be helped to “save face”. The whole course of negotiating terms of appeasement by the West should be abandoned.
Instead, harsher “stage 3” sanctions should now be imposed by the EU, the U.S., and their allies, in execution of the threats they have made of actions to be imposed if Russia didn’t halt its support of the “separatists”.
Russia has not halted that support.
A defeat of the “separatists” in the Donbass is an outcome the Ukrainian people and their military forces deserve, and have earned with the loss of so many military and civilian lives in a war of self-defense. Under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, they have the “inherent right” to exercise that right, and to call upon other nations to join them in repelling Russian aggression by taking “collective measures” of self-defense.
The Trenchant Observer