Work with Russia on Ukraine
Updated: 2014-03-05 08:16
As the West has reacted with alarm to Russia's approval of military action in Ukraine, tensions might further escalate.
Based on the fact that Russia and Ukraine have deep cultural, historical and economic connections, it is time for Western powers to abandon their Cold War thinking, stop trying to exclude Russia from the political crisis they have failed to mediate, and respect Russia's unique role in mapping out the future of Ukraine, says a Xinhua commentary.
Protests in Ukraine started on Nov 21, 2013, with peaceful demonstrations demanding the country's European integration, but soon snowballed into a violent movement against the authorities.
Crimea, an autonomous republic within Ukraine, has now become the center of the crisis.
Crimea is a multi-ethnic region enjoying autonomy after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991. According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, 58.3 percent of the Crimean population are ethnic Russians and most of them hold Russian passports. Russia also maintains its only Black Sea naval base in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea.
The Russian parliament on Saturday authorized President Vladimir Putin to use military force to protect Russian interests. Russia has increased movement of troops and equipment into Crimea.
Over the decades, Ukraine's population was divided along language barriers with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union, while eastern and southern regions look to Russia.
With the EU having proved unable to broker peace in Ukraine, the West should now show more appreciation for what Russia can do to solve the crisis. Given Russia's historical and cultural influence in the country, the Kremlin is the piece that cannot be missing in this political puzzle.
The West should also be honest with the fact that their biased mediation has polarized Ukraine and only made things worse in the country.
Looking to the future, Russia's economic cooperation and assistance are vital for Ukraine to solve its various problems.
The Ukrainians have to figure out what is best for their own country and solve the problems through political dialogue and negotiations.
At the same time, the United States and European countries must work with, not against, Russia to tackle the crisis.