Western officials continue to reiterate demands for Russia to withdraw from the Crimean Peninsula and push the government there to cancel a planned referendum on secession. That’s not going to happen.
Rather, Russian officials say they are preparing “counterproposals” on the situation in the Ukraine, but say that the starting point for them would be the forced ouster of Ukraine’s elected government.
The US and other NATO officials see regime change as a done deal in the Ukraine, and simply want to force an end to the secessionist movement in regions of the nation, chiefly the Crimean Peninsula, which supported the elected government and oppose the new, pro-West government.
What Russia’s proposal will look like remains to be seen, but Secretary of State John Kerry said he will never even visit Russia again unless the government starts giving in to his demands. Russia didn’t seem overly concerned by that prospect.