While the Ukrainian government is quietly waging a war against its people in Donbass, it feels increasingly threatened by its Russian neighbor.

As an initial measure, Moscow granted Russian citizenship to almost the entire population of Donbass (whose culture and language are Russian), a gesture which was enthusiastically accepted. As a second step, Moscow is supposedly planning to organize anti-government protests across the country in order to delegitimize the Kiev government to bolster independence for the Russian-speaking region. And, should this operation fail, it would be prepared to provide military assistance to the people of Donbass. At least, that is the picture that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov painted for US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland on 18 November 2021, and echoed by Chief Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, to the Military Times [1].

However, according to the Washington Post, President Vladimir Putin has yet to reach a decision. [2]. As stipulated in the Russian constitution, he is personally responsible for the fate of Russian citizens abroad, which includes those in Donbass suffering under Ukrainian bombs.

Rejecting in this specific case the right of peoples to self-determination, Washington regards the independence of Donbass and its attachment to the Russian Federation as an unacceptable invasion and annexation. On 31 August 2021, the United States pledged to provide military assistance to the Ukrainian government in the event of a Russian intervention.

The Minsk Accords, which were designed to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by giving guarantees to the Russian-speaking minority, have never been respected by the successive Ukrainian governments, which continue to wage war against their own people.