When a compromise is impossible, people take up arms.
Ukraine has descended into civil war. A street warfare that began and escalated because of the inability of the elites to find common ground.
And a lot of other reasons that came together. A poor economic record, desperate oligarchs opting for the Russian offer of cheap loans and bad peace instead of a good war. Not to forget the East-West division.
War is never fair, it is just mayhem: Who is shooting, who is being killed? Who are the bad guys, who are the good guys, can you trust any news source? Are there any clear aims either side is pursuing?
Why people have to die? To protect the corrupt government? Realise ambitions of the opposition leaders? Or just fight back in the existential clash of opposing views?
The centre of Kyiv is ablaze, the city can be closed for cars, trains arrive with delays. People in the regions arm and ally themselves with protesters or government. Some hope, some are afraid that Russia will commit troops to the Eastern, pro-Yanukovich part – to divide and rule.
Above all, the incumbent Ukrainian president is responsible for the violence. But also the opposition that couldn’t retain control.
Several dozen shot in a European capital within 24 hours. What has Europe, the Nobel Prize winner, done so far? Is there anyone to broker immediate ceasefire, to sit all sides down at the negotiating table and help mediate a deal? Are there any international observation missions deployed? Or sanctions introduced against those who shoulder arms?
The unsustainable political system of Yanukovich and his hardliners aim at a zero-sum, time-winning game. But at what cost?
What is now happening and will follow in Kyiv is of immense significance for the region. It demonstrates the resources of all parties: what the EU is able to offer in a joint effort, what Kyiv/Minsk/dissident Moscow is able to defend, and what Kremlin is ready to do to keep post-Soviet countries in its orbit.