Francois Hollande to Drop Russian Sanctions. Says Putin “doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine.”
When did Hollande wake up and smell the espresso? Putin has been saying that from day one, interview after interview. He said that Ukraine was an economic basket case and Russia had already thrown $30 billion down Ukraine’s black hole over the past 24 months. What had been on the table was Ukraine joining the Russian Customs Union, but as for Ukraine becoming part of Russia, Putin said from the beginning that Russia was not in a position, economically, to absorb Ukraine. That message from Putin never changed. His only suggestion after the coup and ensuing civil unrest was that the largely ethnic Russian East Ukraine should be an autonomous state within a Ukraine republic. Additionally, Putin said that when Ukraine joins the EU, its Russian loans be paid from Ukraine’s IMF bailout, as per contract. Does that sound like a declaration of war?
Ukraine’s internal civil war came about because the toppled President, Yanukovych, was fully supported by East Ukraine, and not at all by the West, as this voting map demonstrates. The civil division was inevitable — and deliberately orchestrated by the US, which had spent $5 billion in the previous three years setting up a color revolution for regime change in Ukraine.
The constant propaganda booming from the Western media, claiming that Russia wanted to annex East Ukraine never came from Putin. It was a fabricated narrative to paint Russia as an “enemy.” In May 2014, a referendum election for self determination was held in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of East Ukraine. The results were overwhelmingly positive and many interviewed at exit polls held a hope that they could become an independent state within Ukraine. [See: Eastern Ukrainians vote for self-rule in referendum opposed by West.]
The Kremlin had advised the separatists to hold off on the vote, but the Eastern separatists were determined to give people of the region a voice. After the vote, the Kremlin advised the separatists to hold meetings with Kiev. But, in a fury of revenge, West Ukraine troops mobilized against the East and slaughtered nearly 4000 of them, mostly ethnic Russians. The East has never attacked West Ukraine.