Ukraine Crisis: Experts Tell Us What Will Happen Next
Wednesday 5th March 2014
Leaders from across the West have condemned Russia for its over its "completely unacceptable" actions in Ukraine.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the world needed to send a "clear message" to Moscow, stating: "So we shall have to bring to bear diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures in order to make this point. That is the very clear message the whole world needs to send to the Russian government."
So why are Russia doing this and what will the outcome be? LBC has spoken to experts across the world to find out.
Ukraine Crisis: Why Is It Happening?
The View From Ukraine
Ian Birrell, a former speechwriter for David Cameron, is currently in Ukraine and explains how the locals are split on this.
He told LBC: "Ukrainians are very divided on this. When I was in Kiev, two-thirds of the country want to be a liberal, Western democracy, which looks much closer to Europe than it does to Russia.
"But in Crimea, people are very solidly behind the Russian intervention and they see it very differently. They think a bandit government has used force of protest in the streets to overthrow an elected leader and that they themselves were threatened as a result of it."
The View From Russia
Alexander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin Adviser, was very animated when he appeared on Iain Dale At Drive: "To say that Putin is trying to annex Crimea is rubbish. You can't have a tense situation which could lead to a civil war in a neighbouring country.
"We've had a very strange situation - a revolution they call it - in Kiev. We have an interim government which has no mandate, which has not been elected, which has seized power. The first decision they made was to downgrade the Russian language, which sent a very bad signal to all the Russian speakers in Ukraine.
"Then they sent those cowboys to the east of the country, pretending there was a revolution taking place there and they were thrown out. So you have to do something, you can't just let a situation like this get out of control with a country that is bordering your borders.
"What happened in Ukraine was a coup funded by the European Union directly - sending ministers to encourage the protests. How about us sending our ministers to Scotland and encouraging them to go separate? How would you take that? That was an open intervention."
Listen To Alexander Nekrassov's remarkable defence of Russia
Ukraine Crisis: What Sanctions Could We Use?
The most obvious form of sanction is that Russia will be expelled from the G8.
Brooks Newmark, Conservative MP for Braintree, told LBC: "Certainly, I would immediately suspend them from the G8. We should cancel the G8 meeting in Sochi. The second thing we should consider economic sanctions.
"By this, I include freezing the assets of oligarchs in London who have bank accounts and businesses here and really putting the pressure on Putin in that way.
"Those are the only two strings to our bow, other than military action and I don't think anyone is talking about taking any military action."
However, Kiran Stacey, the Financial Times' Political Correspondent believes that Vladimir Putin would feel that any action would be quickly reversed. Speaking to Nick Ferrari At Breakfast, he said: "There may be a lot of shock and outrage, but we've seen that the penalties are short-lived. We saw from the similar escapade in Georgia six years ago that shortly afterwards, Russia is forgiven."
Hitting Russia in their pocket seems to be the most likely form of action, but most commentators think that this is a risky option.
Former British Ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton told LBC: "Russia has important economic links with Europe and the obvious place to look is the technology which they use in their energy sector.
"But we need also to be careful here, because Russia has all sorts of methods of retaliation. There are very big British and European investments in Russia which are exposed to such retaliation if they go for it."
Keir Giles, Associate Fellow, International Security and Russia at Chatham House: "All European countries have different vulnerabilities to Russian pressure and so it will be hard for them to take any action without harming themselves.
"We've heard about the Russian money in London and the Russian gas supply in Germany, but there are vulnerabilities across the board, so it will be very hard to get any concerted action against Russia. There is very little leverage that can be brought to bear against Putin over the current crisis."
And Kiran Stacey stated that the UK's response was all talk, saying: "Hugh Powell [a Foreign Office official] was photographed going into Downing Street holding a document which spelled out what the reality of the British position is. And that is making sure we didn't go too far with sanctions and didn't damage London as a financial centre. We might talk very tough when it comes to defending Ukraine, but if really our first priority is to defend London and the rich people living in it, then it doesn't look like we're being very tough at all."
Barack Obama insisted that all options are still on the table as the US looks to respond to Russia's aggressive military move in Crimea.
But Secretary of State John Kerry admitted a military response "would not serve the world well", adding: "The last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of situation."
Indeed Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed: "The UK is not discussion military action, our concentration is on diplomatic and economic pressure."
The US has stopped all military co-operation with Russia. But LBC's US Correspondent Simon Marks says Putin has the upper hand over the US, making any action extremely unlikely. He said: "This follows Vladimir Putin out-pacing the White House on the issue of Syria. It follows Vladimir Putin out pacing the White House on the issue of Edward Snowden. It follows the Russian invasion of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia back in 2008.
"Many international observers are looking at this and probably Vladimir Putin himself says, at the end of the day, the Americans are not really going to do anything."
How Will The Ukraine Crisis End?
LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood says Russia’s Vladimir Putin holds all the aces.
He said: "The Russian President may decide to launch further incursions in to Ukraine, which could ultimately lead to the country being split – Kiev and the western regions leaning towards Europe, while the south and the eastern areas will become part of Russia.
"The split could result in a bloody civil war but with much of Europe relying on Russia’s gas, it is unlikely European nations would become involved in any conflict.
"Another possibility is that Putin, having asserted his control over the Ukraine, decides the international community is in no doubt about Russia's strength and pulls back his forces.
"There will be plenty of negotiations behind the scenes to try and bring about a quick and peaceful end to the stand-off, without either side losing face."