As many world powers weigh in mostly against the actions Russia (with a mostly silent and non-committal China trying to remain out of the conflict), inevitably the conflict gets reframed to make it easier to understand. I think that is a disservice to the people of Ukraine.
I have long relations with ethnic Ukrainians and resident Russians in Ukraine (those who also carry a Russian passport), and first and foremost – among all of them – there is an agreement that a Ukraine that is independent of both undue European and Russian influences is the best thing for all Ukrainians. That may be a dream that died with the fires of the EuroMaidan fueled coup.
Incredulous in Ukraine
Many Ukrainians who were adults when the Soviet Union dissolved are simply incredulous that its onetime partner-state Russia has become an aggressor – a partner from a time in which they were supposedly equal states within one great country. The incredulous either do not want to provoke a military conflict for good faith reasons, or others because they understand that any military conflict would lead to a playbook success for Russia.
Some simply cannot accept that Russia isn’t acting in good faith in recognizing the alleged legal government of the autonomous region of Crimea as opposed by the alleged illegal government now in control in Kiev. Among those are some who believe, like it or not, Crimea cannot break away from Ukraine – and the early elections agreed to in late February if honored would restore credibility to the government – an agreement signed by many including the ousted president, Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Oleh Tyahnibok of the Svoboda.
Others believe there is no going back and that government action by the autonomous parliament of Crimea is legal in the face of an illegal government coup.
And the Fascists in Ukraine…
Accusations of ultra-nationalists and fascists being a part of the coup are not without merit as the Svoboda, a violent neo-fascist group that targets Russians and Jews equally also participated in the protests and has played a small political role in the post coup government. Though not historically a large political player, this group has taken as much advantage as possible to advance itself.