The announcement also shows that the United States views the current ceasefire in eastern Ukraine—in place since September 1—as an opportunity to help Ukraine upgrade its deterrent military capability. While Ukraine's request for 1,240 Javelin anti-tank missiles has gone unmet, Washington's willingness to move forward with radars sends a clear signal that the US may consider sending lethal weapons should the Minsk II process fail.
Although often frustrated with the Kyiv government, these Ukrainians—despite their affinity for Russian language and culture—do not seek to join the Russian Federation or subordinate themselves to the Kremlin's dictates. Russia's aggression has spurred the opposite of what it intended: it has increased the identification of residents in the east and south with the Ukrainian state.
After Putin seized Crimea, many Westerners saw him as a brilliant strategist. Pavlovsky disagrees; instead he claims the Kremlin doesn't really have a strategy. The regime jumps from crisis to crisis in a constant state of improvisation. Putin is not the key; it's the system itself. A crisis is necessary for the regime to be able to present itself as a savior.
The Maidan protests united Ukraine's citizens to an unprecedented degree. This sense of unity reached well beyond Kyiv, resonating in the country's more remote regions. Russia's annexation of Crimea and incursion into the Donbas helped galvanize society with a sense of common purpose. Coupled with strong public support for deep and fundamental reforms, the Ukrainian government enjoys an unparalleled mandate to move the country out of its decades-long rut.
But the buzz this week is the arrival at the UN of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has not deigned to attend the UN General Assembly opening in recent years. Putin's presence is particularly interesting because of his recent decision to intervene massively in Syria, on top of his ongoing aggression in Ukraine's east.
For the longest time, however, it seemed that Putin saw no need for an exit. After all, he took Crimea without paying any real price, and the sanctions imposed on Russia for "annexing" Crimea were small. Furthermore, his hybrid war has yet to achieve its minimal objective: to either remove the pro-Western government in Kyiv or compel it to reverse Western-oriented domestic and foreign policies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Ukraine in "zugzwang" and, as things now stand, the country is unable to move forward militarily, economically or diplomatically.
Without relief, Europe may end up with another deluge of asylum seekers, this time from Ukraine. Already, Russia's occupation of 9 percent of Ukraine has displaced 1.4 million internally and continuing military incursions will result in the dislocation of millions more.
"I like to tell our students that there are three international languages: English, music, and sport," Alexa Chopivsky wrote in a September 2 interview. "No matter what your future plans or goals, in today's globalized world, you have to speak English."