Mychailo Wynnyckyj in Euromaidan PR:
Effectively, the strategy of Kyiv in the Donbas must gradually shift from waging a “hot war” to exercising “soft power” eastward – i.e. the goal must be to shift the line that formerly defined Ukraine’s electoral geography to the Russian border (or at least as far eastward and southward as possible). From this perspective, the war in eastern Ukraine becomes a civilizational war (i.e. informational, economic, cultural). The conflict is less about whether the population wishes to be Ukrainian or Russian (or about what language they speak), but rather about whether the Donbas will be a part of Europe or will continue to be (post)Soviet. Putin has made it eminently clear that he wishes to reinstate the USSR, and during the economic summit in St. Petersburg today he reiterated that he views the conflict in eastern Ukraine in geo-political terms (as engaging the US and EU), rather than as a local/regional struggle for ethnic or linguistic self-determination.