What I can see -
People living in western Ukraine including Kiev believe they stood up to change things at their own impetus without any instigation from any party, movement, nation or force of any kind.
Russia says instigators and provocateurs instigated the uprising against Russian friendly and Russia backed President Yanukovych. They continue to say that far-right and Nazi / neo Nazi elements did the killing of police officers and protesters alike as well as instigating the efforts of local populations to protest and to take that protest into violence.
The EU, UK and US say there were no such instigators supported by the West as implied by the Russian diplomats and President Putin in various statements made since the uprisings began. But, they do not say there were no instigators whatsoever inflaming the protesters, the violence and the outcomes of those events, including snipers who took the lives of police and protesters in Kiev.
I also see -
People in Kiev and western Ukraine continue to believe the current change of government is the outcome they chose, despite not having voted for any of it yet. The people in eastern Ukraine continue to believe as does Russia, that they had voted for a President and government leaders by democratic election who therefore should have standing rather than this new group of government leaders not elected by anyone.
In Russia, leaders and diplomats alike have continued to repeat that the government currently placed and backed in Kiev is illegitimate with voiced concerns about the far-right and neo Nazi components that have been placed in seats of the Ukrainian government. The Russian claim of illegitimacy is important in international law as a basis of outcomes from here and have been repeated in nearly every single statement made by President Putin, their diplomats, ambassadors and foreign minister.
EU, US and UK continue to assert that the current interim government has been chosen by the will of the people based upon their massive protests to remove the Russian backed and what nearly all agree to be, corrupt President of Ukraine Yanukovych. They especially strengthen that argument in their estimation by his known mishandling of the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square leading to deaths, injuries and greater violence than what would have otherwise occurred. They are also saying that because elections for Ukraine’s people to democratically choose a new President and Parliamentary members is scheduled within weeks, it is therefore reasonable for the current interim government to be considered legitimate as a working model to attend to the business of state for the people of Ukraine in this brief time period regardless of their political leanings and party affiliations.
The other part is obvious -
Russian Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine claim to be defending their territory from not only the chaos of anti-Russian sentiment that has been witnessed in eastern areas of Ukraine with the toppling of statues, molotov cocktails and other violence against people and facilities of the community but also from unwanted force seeking for them to agree with Kiev about these changes. The self-defense forces may be local Ukrainian Russians and neighbors from across the border with Russia, none of which are actual Russian troops or they may be Russian troop members requested by the local Crimean government for help in policing, securing and defending the area from destructive social unrest emanating from Kiev and its eastern Ukrainian territories. Either way, they have been mostly peaceful with each day intensifying the potential of angry confrontation which in fact began occurring regionally within the last 48 hours, more or less.
Russia says that those troops in the western Ukraine regions cannot be recalled by them because they are in fact, not their troops (said and repeated in every statement, official and otherwise), aside from those on their base and on their specific ships harbored there (not said but certainly implied.)
US officials including President Obama, Ambassador Powers and Secretary Kerry, UK official Hague and others have stated publicly that those troops are Russian and must be removed at once. Their entire basis for instating the international compulsory action that justifies not only the UN Security Council intervening but also potentially international intervention in general are those troops or self-defense forces being official Russian military members. If they are not and it can be proven they are not, but are rather local yokels taking up arms in defense of their own territories in Crimea and western Ukraine, the burden of proof would not exist for international “rescue” of the local populations from those troops.
I can also see -
There is an economic component of this area being an influence on some parties involved in shaping these events. That Ukraine’s Crimea sits on an oil and natural gas rich basin which was set to be harvested, leased, drilled, and sold must be a factor in some push that is occurring both to keep the territory for Russia and to get the same territory away from Russia.
It isn’t about bringing oil from there, it is about the oil and natural gas reserves recently discovered there and yet to be tapped. In fact, Russia has the resources ready to develop it for shipping to refineries, processing and moving it to markets throughout Europe, Eastern Europe and the Ukraine, but currently will have no access nor rights to any of it, if Ukraine moves away from Russian relationships.
At the same time, the EU needs those resources to be less reliant on Russia for those products and in truth, Ukraine could become financially solvent and solve their own energy needs to a great extent by exclusively harvesting those resources (although they would by necessity require both the EU and Russia to effectively do it, from lease of Russian pipelines to market distribution interactions with the EU.)
Unfortunately, most Ukrainians don’t seem to know that oil and natural gas was found there and that contracts were to be signed for it last fall (Nov.) The Russian Ukrainian population may make a different decision about their futures, if they knew their own energy resources and future of Ukraine were sitting beneath their feet. It is unlikely they will have that information when their decisions are made about joining with Russia or working with the current situation as set up in Kiev.
Sep 24, 2012 – In June 2012, Kiev issued calls for tender to international oil companies for the exploration and development of two offshore natural gas fields …
The Skifska gas field natural gas field located on the continental shelf of the Black Sea. It was discovered in 2012 and developed by a consortium consisting of Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Petrom and Nadra. It will begin production in 2015 and will produce natural gas and condensates. The total proven reserves of the Skifska gas field are around 8.875 trillion cubic feet (250×109m³), and production is slated to be around 550 million cubic feet/day (15×106m³) in 2015.
I also see -
That if Russia loses the Crimean peninsula and its oil basin access – it is a shot in the face after having been divided up so dramatically throughout the process of the Soviet Union being dissolved. At a time when their participation in the world has been portrayed as a partnership of equals working toward equally beneficial goals, it now looks like those portrayals were not founded in truth (based upon the handling of this situation by other members of the world community.) So, in one sense Russia would have a viewpoint entirely at odds with other world leaders who speak of “punishing Russia” and of this moment in history “being on the wrong side of history”. Why would they believe that?
And, if Russia does nothing to interact on behalf of their citizens living in Ukraine and Crimea in particular, and western Ukraine specifically, then their alliances around the world, promises to back allies and friends as well as to back up what they say, is in jeopardy.
The Russian viewpoint that the Ukrainian government was wrongfully deposed by a coup, then installed in its place is a far right wing, fascist and Nazi government means that by the West’s own history with those extremist factions, the International Community, US, UK, EU, NATO and the World as well as Russia (in their estimation) should be on the same side to stop them, not to back them and say it is okay.
There is a lot said about Georgia and the current situation. They are not the same. Anyone who believes they are the same could not have read through any of what happened to start, continue or aggravate the situation that occurred in Georgia. This is not the same situation.
Whether anyone backed, instigator or provoked this situation to become what has happened to this point is likely a good question for history and certainly for those intelligence agencies who are often involved in such things and know a good deal about their counterparts’ actions when they occur.
It isn’t the same as Georgia in any respect, nor is it today. However, this situation can become a great deal worse than anyone could possibly wrap their head around and it won’t be because of Russian troops, instigators or Kiev pro-western citizens.
It will be because neighbors are fighting neighbors, entire families and communities destroyed in its wake and a new generation of not only Ukrainians, but Europeans, Russians, and Eastern Europeans watching their world spinning into horrors rather than peace and prosperity.