After Ukrainian troops killed five protesters today in Slovyansk, the odds of the protesters simply giving up and embracing the pro-US government are slim to none, and the Obama Administration is still holding out hope Russia can somehow “order” the protesters to stop their protesting.
It’s not so much a hope as a demand, really, as the White House and the State Department are both presenting it as an obligation Russia has under the terms of last week’s Geneva deal, at least near as the US sees it.
President Obama insists the next round of anti-Russia sanctions are all “teed up” and ready to go, saying Russia needs to publicly condemn the “malicious” protesters seeking autonomy in Ukraine’s east.
Secretary of State John Kerry also insisted Russia was obliged to force an end to the protests, saying their refusal to do so would be an “expensive mistake” and would leave the US with no choice but to enact more sanctions.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also claimed Russia was violating the deal by holding military exercises near Ukraine’s border, though the joint public statement issued at the end of those talks made no mention at all of Russian troops.
Russia has insisted that they don’t have the authority to order the protesters to abandon their calls for autonomy, and has chided the US for endorsing military action against them as an acceptable solution.