Separatist leaders in the Eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk have declared independence and asked Russia for permission to join the Federation. The leaders have made an official declaration and have declared the province the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic.

Donetsk Ukraine

With much of Eastern Ukraine descending into unrest, this move might be a domino that could cause the whole Eastern portion of Ukraine to dissolve. Rebellious provinces in Eastern Ukraine held a referendum this past Sunday and

Ukraine and American Government Denounce Referendum

Russia has called for a peaceful implementation of the referendum which saw two provinces, Donetsk and Lukansk essentially vote to declare independence from Ukraine. If granted independence, it is widely expected that the provinces would then join Russia.

Both the United States and Ukraine quickly denounced the vote. First, the vote carries questionable legal status as it has not been sanctioned by the national government. Second, even the voting procedures themselves are highly suspect.

The Ukranian national government has been sending troops to Eastern Ukraine to fight against what it regards as terrorist activities. In some cases, clashes between civilians and army soldiers has resulted in conflict and at least on civilian has been killed thus far.

In most cities, few polling stations were open, ballots were confusing and in many cases simply photocopied pieces of computer paper. There were no monitors and few ways to ensure against fraud or accuracy. Regardless, it would appear that separatists do enjoy popular support in many Eastern provinces, which are heavily populated by people of descent and who identify as ethnic Russians.

Ukraine on the verge of disintegration

Ukraine may not be able to survive the growing movement to break the country up, at least not in its present form. Already, Crimea has all but been succeeded to Russia and the Russian government appears ready to add more of Ukraine to the Federation.

So far, Russian troops do not appear to be present in Eastern Ukraine but if conflicts between the Ukrainian government and ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine escalate, it may only be a matter of time before Moscow decides to act.

The United States, meanwhile, appears to have its hands tied and does not appear to be in a position to intervene or even offer meaningful support to Ukraine. While Ukraine was moving closer to the European Union, it is far outside of America’s sphere of influence and is not among the United States close allies.

As such, it is unlikely that the American government will go far out of its way to protect or aid Ukraine. Meanwhile, the European Union lacks the resources and economic strength to offer much more than strongly worded condemnations. So while Ukraine disintegrates, the world will likely just stand by and watch.