Ukraine solution: West should back off and support partition

If we are happy to let Scotland go (depending on the referendum), we should let Ukraine split too

Column LAST UPDATED AT 12:33 ON Mon 3 Mar 2014

RUSSIA has re-annexed Crimea and despite the diplomatic bluster of William Hague and John Kerry there is nothing we can do about it.  More than that, there is nothing we in the West should do about it.  

Never assume that your opponent thinks in the same way that you do – it’s a cardinal rule of intelligence analysis.  He will have different priorities and cultural assumptions.  If you are keen to work out what he is going to do next you have somehow to get inside his skin. We have signally failed to do that with President Putin – routinely portrayed as some kind of ex-KGB monster in the British media.   

Putin and most Russians do not see either the Crimea, or Ukraine as a whole, as we do.  Crimea was Russian from 1783 until 1954 when President Nikita Krushchev “gifted” it to Ukraine for reasons that remain obscure.  Eastern Ukraine was ruled by Russia from the time of Peter the Great until the break-up of the Soviet Union.  

Imagine that, say, Northumberland had been “gifted” to Scotland in 1954 as some sort of meaningless goodwill gesture – an administrative re-ordering to cement the relations between the Scots and the English.  And that Scotland subsequently became independent, Northumberland included, despite the opposition of nearly everyone in that county who felt culturally and historically English.  But they had to lump it, and we in England had to mourn our lost province because the international community said it had to be so – and we as a country were on our uppers at the time and in no position to do much about it.  

And then, 20 years or so later, a reasonably pro-English president in Edinburgh (legitimately elected, though corrupt and latterly brutal) was forced to step down after violent street protests whipped up with the moral support of the international community.  And then we suspected that the new ‘government’ in Edinburgh was tempted to enter into a trading and military alliance with China…

It’s not an exact parallel but it will give you some idea of what is going through Putin’s mind.

An electoral map of Ukraine looks rather like one of those maps of Belfast we used to carry on patrol during the Troubles: East Belfast, shaded appropriately in orange ink, was almost entirely Protestant and Loyalist, looking to the British Crown for authority, tradition and security.  West Belfast, shaded in bright green ink, was almost entirely Roman Catholic and Nationalist, looking to the Irish Republic and sadly the IRA.  

It’s the same in Ukraine.  The majority of the people in the east of the country look to Moscow.  The city of Donetsk, for instance, contains more Russians than it does Ukrainians, and many of those who describe themselves as Ukrainian speak Russian as their first language.

Probably the most logical solution would be some kind of partition on the lines of the 1921 treaty that partitioned Ireland or the 1947 process adopted at the end of British India.  Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the English barrister and fellow of All Souls who had to draw up the international boundaries between India and West and East Pakistan, sequestered himself in a Delhi bungalow for weeks as he agonised over his near-impossible task.  

Partitioning Ukraine would pose few such problems.  Crimea is already de facto once again Russian, and ‘Ukraine proper’ (a phrase used this morning on the BBC) is split almost exactly down the middle in its political and cultural aspirations.  A map of the results of the 2010 presidential election shows this clearly.  

It could be divided into two viable countries – East Ukraine, with its capital at Kharkov or Donetsk, where locals hoisted the Russian flag over public buildings last week, comfortable in the Russian orbit.  And West Ukraine, with its capital at Kiev, and its westward-looking worldview reinforced by the former Austro-Hungarian city of Lvov (Lemberg), eventually becoming an EU country.

We in the United Kingdom seem happy to allow the possible partition and dismemberment of our own territorial unity dating back to the accession of James I on March 24 1603 – if that’s what people want. What’s sauce for the Scots goose would fit the Ukrainian gander.  Instead of huffing and puffing about the inviolability of very recently arrived at and clearly unworkable borders in Ukraine, William Hague should use our diplomatic muscle to promote the idea of partition.  Let the people vote on which bloc they want to belong to. Putin might well agree. · 

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The bottom line is that there is nothing you can do about it regardless of whether its appeasement or not. US soldiers cant fight this kind of war so get used to it.

Exactly. How come the US is allowed to bomb and invade, and peaceful "unmarked" troops (ok, everyone knows they're Russian) can't hang around Crimea, just as a show of force? Yeah, the did fire like 30 rounds into the air in total as warning shots. And remember, Ukraine is basically in Russia's back yard, while the US bombed such far away countries as Libya and Iraq to kingdom come.

Crispin Black is talking out of the back of his head. There's quite enough insane dribble coming from Putin without some third rate hack putting his inane oar in. That's the trouble when a bully throws their weight around there's always some numpty that just says let them get away with it!

What happens if Russia tries the same tactic with Poland or Moldova or Germany? Is this dumb hack going to peddle his stupidity and support Russia in loping off and claiming bits of whatever country it feels like! Just what this country doesn't need, another fourth rate tabloid trying to peddle stupidity in the hope of making a name for itself. Sheesh!!!!

As for the Scottish issue. This idiot really does show just how ignorant he is. SCOTLAND WAS A FREE INDEPENDENT COUNTRY, ENGLAND TOOK IT BY FORCE AND FORCED IT TO BECOME ANNEXED TO ENGLAND IT WAS NOT DONE BY FREE CHOICE!!! The unelected English government gave their word not to interfere with Scotland's right to decide it's own fate. It lied as usual and has done nothing but interfere. I suppose using this moron Blacks logic that's perfectly acceptable. This stupid twit thinks bullying is ok so lying and bulling must be really ok!!

Regardless whether this idiot Black really is as stupid and ignorant as he appears to be, or he just thinks he's being clever by deeply offending and angering people, IT ISN'T ACCEPTABLE! HE SHOULD SHUT HIS DAMN PIE HOLE!! Trying to make a name for himself by talking out his backside and offending and insulting people is just a totally pathetic way of trying to keep a job. It just smacks of being a desperate loser!

Did you think that your gratuitous rudeness and unchecked flow of invectives will topple Mr Black's very sound argument?

Ahh the alter ego Troll. Go back to the clinic it's time for your meds!

Crispin is right. The Budapest Memorandum failed to allow for the emergence of legitimate separatist movements within the artificial republics created by the Tsars and the Soviets. The treaties that ended the Crimean War 1854/6 broke down for the same reason: they failed to allow for separatist movements within the Ottoman Empire's ill-assorted European provinces in the Balkans
Hugh Small, Author The Crimean War: Queen Victoria's war against the Russian Tsars (Tempus, 2007)

Ah, right: You are one of the 'medicators' who cannot cope with reasoning. Weirdo.

It is also worth remembering that the 1997 Partition Treaty, ratified by both the Russian and the Ukrainian governments, enables Russia to keep up to 25,000 troops on Crimean territory, 24 artillery systems with a caliber smaller than 100 mm, 132 armoured vehicles, and 22 military planes.

Russian troops have been in the Crimea since 1997. They are not ‘invaders’ in 2014, in any sense.

But the crux of the matter: Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (established in 1783 by Prince Potomkin!) is docked at Sevastopol (Crimea). That is its only warm-water port and access to the Mediterranean (think Syria and Iran).

Did anybody seriously think that a neo-con-led coup in Kiev was going to see Russia abandon its warships and its warm-water port, or leave it unprotected? Or perhaps the coup-ists thought that they had acquired the Russian navy. :)

I attended a Polish Catholic school here in England. There were four 'houses' in the style of a public school. Warszawa, Krakow, Wilno and Lwow. When we boys objected that Lwow (Lviv) wasn't even in Poland, the Marian Fathers agreed to change it - to Kiev. We then pointed out that it was the CAPITAL of a different country. To which they replied 'so is Wilno (Vilnius)'. The idea that current boundaries represent the views of the inhabitants is preposterous. Just lets try to avoid any killing; especially of our troops.

What, in any case, would be the causus bellum here?

True. The current Ukraine-Russia border is established by the Partition Treaty of 1997. As far as I can see, nobody is questioning that. But that Treaty enables the Russian presence in the Crimea. And that seems to have been forgotten by the contemporary media.

The Black Sea can only be accessed through NATO member Turkey who are very sympathetic to Muslim Tatars. Her Putin can invade Crimea under this fake pretext but what use is his port when his fleet can't leave the Black Sea ?

Russia agreed to protect Ukraine, along with Britain and the US in return for Ukraine's nuclear weapons and now Russia invades the Ukraine.

When you're an international citizen and dependent on international agreements, you need to respect them ! For example, what use is the internet when you can't reach servers outside of you're own country ?

The Partition of the Black Sea Fleet Treaty, you mean? Essential limits of this treaty have been broken brutally by Russian Federation, in the course of this conflict.
The troops just "popped up" out of nowhere in numbers twice exceeding the limits.

What a bullshit lwow now lviv was polish town since 1350 taken by austrian monarchy in Poland partition, even then majority people were poles, stolen by stalin in jalta should be returned to Poland in any case to make better life of the people does not matter most of them ukrainian

former astro [hungarian joke?former polish city