Can tensions in Ukraine be lowered without a federalist-constitutional restructuring of the State?
On Thursday, 17 April 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergy Lavrov, Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriii Deshchytsia, and the European Union Foreign Policy representative Catherine Ashton met in Geneva for a one-day exchange to address concerns over the situation in Ukraine and to take steps to limit the growing violence within the country.
The meeting came shortly after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned in a 15 April report that “Misinformation, propaganda and incitement to hatred need be urgently countered in Ukraine to avoid the further escalation of tensions in the country...It is critical for the Government to prioritise respect for diversity, inclusivity and equal participation of all− including minorities− in Ukraine.”
Also on the eve of the Geneva talks, President Vladimir Putin said on Russian television that he had been authorized by Parliament to use military force in eastern Ukraine if necessary, but hoped that it could be avoided. The statement highlighted the possible use of Russian forces, some 40,000 of which are stationed on the Russian-Ukraine frontier.
The Russian Government has denied that the pro-Russian armed militias around occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine are under their control, begging the question of whom the men in unmarked military uniforms are working for. Turmoil, including the shooting of some of these pro-Russian demonstrators, is growing. In response, NATO forces have been strengthened in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.