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Will Russia deploy military forces to Ukraine?

By Ali Omidi - posted Friday, 28 February 2014

The recent developments in Ukraine happened in the midst of the ongoing Winter Olympics in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi. As a result of those developments, the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is a Russophile politician, disgracefully fled from the presidential palace in the capital Kiev and has sought refuge in an as yet unknown location.

The only thing that he did was to post a short video footage in which Yanukovych claimed that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine.

On the other hand, the Russian President Vladimir Putin was busy watching the games in Sochi and had less time to focus on Ukraine's developments. He even left the duty of announcing Russia's overall views on these developments to his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who described political developments in Ukraine as an armed insurgency and illegitimate.


Regardless of the description used to explain the country's developments, there is no doubt that Russia considers them extremely detrimental to its interests as they potentially pave the way for the West to increase its influence in a geopolitically sensitive part of Moscow's sphere of influence.

One can assume Russia has not been idle and has been working out an effective strategy in order to reduce the geopolitical costs of what is going on in this East European country for Moscow.

The past experiences in Chechnya and Georgia, and the current experience in Syria have shown that when they find themselves faced with a major geopolitical threat, Russians are not manipulated by Western countries' political gestures.

On the other hand, Russia's passivity in Ukraine and its indifference toward the fate of Russian people living in that country will deal a blow to the legitimacy of Putin inside Russia.

It should not be forgotten that the main reason thatprompted the Russian people to vote for Putin in three presidential elections was his success in the revival of the past grandeur of the Slavic people. Therefore, Putin is very sensitive about this issue.

The question that has occupied observers of Ukraine's developments is what cards are available to Moscow to play vis-à-vis the ongoing developments in Ukraine?


A review of the available evidence and also analysis of remarks made by Russia's prime minister and its foreign minister [Sergey Lavrov] about the interim government in Ukraine, shows that Moscow has no plan to get along with the new Ukrainian government.

It seems that in view of Putin's character and the overall direction in which Russian foreign policy moves in the "near abroad," there are three options available to Moscow with regard to developments in Ukraine:

1. Offering military support for Yanukovych and restoring the past situation to Ukraine.

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This article was first published on Iran View.

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About the Author

Dr Ali Omidi is Assistant Professor of International Relationsat the University of Isfahan-Iran.

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