Ukrainian Separatists and the War in Donbass
When Petro Poroshenko took over the presidency of Ukraine in June 7, 2014, he was committed to re-establishing talks with Russia. But he didn’t have full control over the armed forces, infested with neo-Nazi battalions, as many of the regular troops had refused to fight and deserted. Putin tried to deflate the conflict and dissuade the separatists from proclaiming independence. But he failed. He had no control over the situation on the ground, and the actions of the Kiev “junta”—such as banning Russian as a second language—kept inflaming the population of the Donbass. The war in the Donbass caused a humanitarian disaster because of the atrocities perpetrated by the Kiev troops, but it was the insurgents in Russia who were condemned when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was brought down over Ukraine—in what may very well have been a “false flag” operation. As the humanitarian situation in the Donbass became increasingly dire, Putin tried to send humanitarian aid. Kiev tried to block this aid, but Poroshenko bowed to the pressure of the Red Cross, France, and Germany and allowed humanitarian aid to enter the area.