The Philadelphia Inquirer cites the Atlantic Council for hosting an event with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko:
Most important, those areas would hold elections for local officials on Dec. 7. Poroshenko told an audience at the Atlantic Council that the elections are the key part of the new law – because they would give locals a chance to decide who should represent them in future negotiations with Kiev. The separatists fear elections, Poroshenko said, “because people can demonstrate to whom they will give their votes.”
However, in ongoing talks with separatist leaders and Russians, the separatists are spurning Poroshenko’s offer. Many Ukrainians fear the Kremlin still plans stealth tactics to stir up separatist movements in other regions of their country. All the while, Putin will piously claim he is merely backing Russian speakers in Ukraine who are being deprived of their rights.
“If this was about rights and not about geopolitical ambitions, a solution [would] be found,” Poroshenko told Congress. In other words, if Putin were open to a negotiated solution, the Kiev government would be ready to devolve serious powers to the Donbass.
But so far, Putin isn’t interested in a democratic solution – the kind that was worked out with Scotland and that could be in Ukraine. Rather, he seeks to forcefully revive a Russian empire – upending the rules that kept post-World War II Europe safe and peaceful. That is a challenge NATO nations cannot ignore.
Which brings us back to what those cheering men and women of Congress should do to help Poroshenko. So far, the White House has pledged $70 million in nonlethal military assistance to Ukraine, including meal rations, blankets, and night-vision goggles – much of which hasn’t yet arrived.
“Please understand me,” the Ukrainian leader told Congress, “one cannot win the war with blankets.” The heavy defensive weapons he seeks, he told the Atlantic Council, are not meant to help Ukraine win the war over Donbass, which he seeks to end by negotiations. Rather, “lethal weapons will help us prevent the next war.” The aim would be to dissuade further Russian adventurism in Ukraine.