The pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine are surrounded by troops including volunteer units manned by members of the extreme right, sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe. A rebel defeat would mean utter defeat and humiliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but however unpalatable it may be to Kiev and its Western supporters, the Russian president alone holds the key to what happens in Ukraine in both the short and long-term.

THE BATTLE for eastern Ukraine is moving into its final stage. The last rebel strongholds in Donetsk and Lugansk have been surrounded, and all re-supply routes from the Russian bor...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Following the shooting down of Malaysia airliner Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew, Western media and political leaders have turned the crisis in Ukraine into a vendetta against Mr Putin
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