PODCAST | Dr Dmytro Khutkyy – Hostilities in Eastern Ukraine: what is happening and who is responsible?

Speaker: Dr Dmytro Khutkyy, Fulbright Visiting Researcher, University of California-Riverside, USA

Q & A

In May 2014, military conflict broke out in Ukraine. The conflict unfolded after changes in political rule in Kiev in February 2014, the accompanying EuroMaidan violence, and the subsequent annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by Russia. Current death toll estimates range from 4,623 (United Nations estimate) to more than 12,000 (Ukrainian government data). The international community interprets the conflict from a variety of perspectives: some see the hostilities as a civil war, while others perceive the military combat in the Eastern parts of Ukraine as an expression of geopolitical confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Experts speculate that the causes of the conflict comprise: local discontent with the violent change of authorities in Kiev;  the Russian government’s unwillingness to surrender influence over Ukraine; and the changing format of world governance, where state sovereignty is respected only if a state has a strong army, meaning the U.S. can intervene in Syria, while Russia intervenes  in Ukraine.

So, how did this start? What are the driving forces behind the warfare? Who is responsible for the atrocities? Local separatists, foreign volunteers, Ukraine, Russia, or foreign powers? Whose interests does it serve? What will be the actual aftermath for the parties involved ? What can be done to stop the hostilities?