Now that Ukraine forces have retaken the pro-Russian stronghold of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine, morale has swollen among troops and a strong national pride has taken hold of Kiev. President Petro Poroshenko has described the success as a turning point central to Ukraine's east. "My order is now in effect - tighten the ring around the terrorists...Continue the operation to liberate Donetsk and Luhansk regions," President Poroshenko tweeted yesterday. On the other hand, Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmatov who is headquartered in Donetsk, where rebel forces have retreated from Slaviansk, has urged caution suggesting that Ukraine forces not bomb Donetsk. "I dont want coffins from Donbass to come back to western Ukraine," he said.
It comes now that the Kiev government finds itself in a defining position...a position from which its actions could determine a negotiated peace for Ukraine, a temporary rout of the rebels, who will go underground only to resurface to destabilize Ukraine for years to come, or a ceding of some territory to the pro-Russians of the east.
While indications of outright victory over the rebels might appear imminent to Kiev; President Poroshenko needs to identify Ukraine's true strategic, security and economic interests in Donetsk; do they outweigh the risks of more lives and instability? Moreover, in light of the fading fanfare in Russia and in Crimea to Crimea's annexation, should Ukraine leave Donetsk unto itself? Like lost sheep seeking to rejoin the herd, Donetsk might be in need of harsh realities in mapping its way home.