'The crisis in Ukraine is going critical, and that is a fact."
—Floyd Rudmin, Counterpunch.org
Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors loaded with radioactive fuel. The largest nuclear reactor in Europe is north of Crimea. There are four Chernobyl reactors in Ukraine, still leaking radiation. If there were any kind of war there, the power grid fails, or there is sabotage, Ukraine, Europe, Russia and the rest of the world would receive "heavy doses of radioactive fallout."
Ron Forthofer, Tom Mayer and Dan Winters of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center have been wrestling with this complex set of problems. They have created recommendations for how on earth a peaceful resolution can be sought, and they've come up with the following:
Violence is not the answer. The current attacks by Ukrainian government and its paramilitary forces against Ukrainians in the eastern Ukraine must stop immediately.
Negotiations must begin as soon as possible between the new Ukrainian government and representatives of eastern Ukraine on a new constitution. Perhaps consultants from Switzerland could serve as facilitators for the negotiations.
The National Guard and paramilitary forces in all of Ukraine must be unarmed and disbanded.
UN forces from nations not involved in this crisis should be used to monitor the situation on the ground. These forces will be authorized to use force to defend themselves and the Ukrainian population.
All politically-related foreign groups, such as the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID, should immediately leave Ukraine. No foreign groups or money designed to influence elections should be allowed into Ukraine.
The U.S. must honor its commitment not to expand NATO to the east. Previous U.S. violations of its pledge have played a role in the creation of the current crisis over Ukraine. NATO should abandon its attempts to include Ukraine and Georgia.
There should be a new poll in the Crimea with UN monitors from nations not involved in the crisis. The options could be for autonomy within Ukraine, for its previous position in Ukraine without autonomy, or for becoming a part of Russia.
To give Ukraine a chance to avoid becoming a failed state, its financial situation has to be considered. This might include a requirement that Ukrainian oligarchs return much of their wealth that was obtained under questionable means. Instead of the Ukrainian people alone paying the price for widespread corruption by the elites, Ukraine should work with the IMF on debt relief.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.