ukraine

Trying to cram a nuanced view on the tragedy in Ukraine into 140 characters was a mistake. Taking a closer look at the West's role is not.  I had a valuable learning experience last week, prompted by a hasty tweet I sent out on the subject of Ukraine.

Investigators are still far from an official judgment of what brought down a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew onboard. But the global court of public opinion, the verdict appears to be rendered.

Moscow's reaction to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 and the latest round of U.S. sanctions reveals signs of disarray over the strategic shift toward confrontation with the West.  Many Russian officials view the rising stakes with trepidation.

The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17rippled across multiple continents — from Amsterdam, where friends and family had just seen off their loved ones, to the distant shores of Asia and Australia that had been waiting for 298 passengers and crew who would never show up. 

While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on Saturday that both countries will use their influence on the two sides of the Ukraine conflict to end hostilities, Moscow said it would retaliate against Washington’s most recent sanctions over Ukraine by denying entry to several U.S. citizens.

For months, the United States and the West have been searching for a way to drive a wedge between the Ukrainian separatist rebels and Russia. Even as recently as this week, the main effort has been the use of economic sanctions, which have had little effect. Russia's behavior is vulnerable to pressure, particularly as a result of the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The politics of embarrassment, not economic sanctions, are the best avenue to achieve our most important goal in Ukraine, a state free from Russian domination.

While it’s still unclear who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, killing nearly 300 people over eastern Ukraine, one thing is certain: A crisis that seemed abstract and far away to many Europeans has suddenly – and violently – hit close to home.

In the wake of its military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, Russia is widely disliked in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, according to a Pew Global Attitudes poll released on Wednesday. The leadership of President Vladimir V. Putininspires little confidence, the survey found.

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