It seems Crimea is not enough. Armed groups are now trying to annex parts of eastern Ukraine to Russia. NATO and the government in Kiev are in no doubt that Moscow is behind such action. meanwhile, tens of thousands of Russian troops are massing near the border with Ukraine. How far will Putin go? And where is the red line for the West?
NATO is considering the possibility of stationing more military forces in eastern Europe. In Poland and the Baltic states, the number of NATO combat aircraft has already been increased. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks of "Russia’s aggression against Ukraine" and of "continuing violence committed by pro-Russian separatists".
But NATO is still hoping to achieve a political solution to the crisis, rather than talking about a military option.
The situation on the ground appears to be getting worse. Russia has built up a threatening posture on its side of the border, and seems to be exerting influence through armed agents operating in eastern Ukraine. The Kiev government, for its part, seems unable to respond effectively.
Would the West continue to look on without taking action if Russia were to occupy further parts of Ukraine, or even of Moldova or the Baltic republics? Is there such a thing as a 'red line'? What is the value of international law, when a military power like Russia is able to threaten the territorial integrity of its neighbors and not pay any price for doing so?
Tell us what you think: Ukraine Escalation – Right or Might?
Iryna Solonenko - is a Ukrainian political scientist based at the European University Viadrina at Frankfurt/Oder. Before that, she worked for ten years with the Open Society Foundations and the EastWest Institute in Ukraine. Her research focuses on the Europeanisation and democratisation of post-Soviet countries with a focus on Ukraine. She also deals with civil society development and the political role of the Ukrainian oligarchs. Living now in Berlin, she was an activist in a Euromaidan supporters group in the German capital.
Anton Troianovski - is a US-american journalist of Russian Origin. Based in Berlin, he is the chief German politics and economics correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. In recent weeks, Anton Troianovski covered the Sochi Olympics as well as the Crimea referendum. Before moving to Germany last year, worked for the newspaper from New York and Washington. He also has reported from Moscow for The Washington Post and The Associated Press.
Ivan Rodionov- is the editor-in-chief of the Russian news agency Ruptly Video Agency in Berlin. Ruptly is part of the Russian state-funded broadcaster Russia Today. Before he became a journalist, Rodionov studied English and German language and literature in Moscow. He has also been deputy editor-in-chief at another Russian state broadcaster, Rossiya 24. He has reported on the conflicts in Chechnya, Afghanistan and the Middle East, as well as many other stories.