There are no signs of any great changes on the ground in the ongoing civil war in eastern Ukraine, but the hysteria among Ukrainian officials continues to mount, with officials now calling it a “great war” the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War 2.
The war, such as it is, involves ethnic Russian separatists in the two easternmost Oblasts, and could be over at any time, if Ukraine would agree to negotiations, though they have ruled out any talks under any circumstances.
Instead, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry insists they’re doing it all for Europe, and that the fate of the entire continent is at stake in a war which they are couching as an open conflict against Russia, but which at most seems to involve Russian proxies and an undisclosed amount of military aid flowing across the border.
The narrative has been a common one among NATO’s easternmost members, which have suggested a separatist victory would lead, somehow, to an outright Russian invasion of all of eastern Europe.
The threat is preposterous, of course, and so is Ukraine’s strategy of escalating the war, as Russia’s military is so dramatically larger that if the Poroshenko government actually does succeed in turning this into an overt Russo-Ukrainian war, they’d likely lose the whole country in a matter of weeks.
Negotiating a settlement makes all the sense in the world, especially now that the rebel counteroffensive has eliminated the chance of a quick military victory for Ukraine. Yet US pressure on Ukraine to keep the war going and not negotiate seems to be looming large, and keeping the war going for the sole reason of escalating a sanctions war with Russia.