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Even as one side feigns disinterest in a military showdown, it would be foolish to believe that any one is not trying to amass as powerful a force as it could near the frontline of the Ukraine. Even if you want a peaceful solution, you need power to get a fair deal, and thus, the law of the jungle in presently working in full force across the most sophisticated models of conflict and cooperation. Putin thought that Yanukovych would be able to cobble up a truce with his opponents, but in reality, he was either too weak or too fearful to achieve it. Maybe, he had no choice but to leave his own guards to the mercy of his attackers. Or, maybe, he was part of the script, to make the collapse of his government unstoppable and irrevocable. Politics is dirty, everywhere, and Russia is still very unhappy with its protege. Therefore, Putin had really no choice but to send in his own forces to salvage Crimea, which was originally a part of Russia, until Khruschev unilaterally gifted it to Ukraine when he rose to power, simply because he was a Ukrainian. Gift or not, the people of Crimea have always been culturally, spiritually and genetically Russian, and that, cannot be given away, especially to a regime that views everything Russian with a jaundiced eye. You can give the land away, but you cannot give a people away.|
The logical solution to this dilemma, given that Western Ukraine is solidly anti-Russian and Eastern Ukraine is solidly pro-Russian, is to sadly, let each side govern itself independently of the other side. They would be happier this way. And they would feel safer too, and thus, feel less need to invade the other side. But no, again, greed wins the fight, and the fellows who got Kyiv, also want Crimea. And, they want the land, but not its people, whom they regard as renegades if not enemies. "If you cannot love its people, let go of the land", any reasonable statesman would say, but who is saying that?
Now, China would not want to suggest to anyone that Ukraine may have to be divided, because that is painful, and China gets absolutely nothing out of it. Nor is it China's duty to say so. But if Kiev wants Crimea, then it should offer to negotiate a new government that guarantees the safety of the persons and property of the Crimean population. This is impossible, however, given the composition of the Kiev adminstration at the moment. Besides, the backers of the Kiev government may not want only half a Ukraine as booty for their efforts and risk. And, Putin may distrust the words of his opponents that they only want peace, while their forces are still far away, but may opt for war, when they are near at last. And so, anything can still happen in the next few hours or days.
A quick redrawing of the map of Ukraine is urgently needed before all those who think they are buying time find out that they could buy only so much, and run out of it.