The Guardian reports: Ruslan Kotsaba posted a video addressed to the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, last week in which he said he would rather go to prison for five years for draft-dodging than fight pro-Russia rebels in the country’s east. Now he faces 15 years in jail after being arrested for treason and obstructing the military.
His case is symptomatic of Kiev’s difficulties in mobilising a war-weary society to continue the fight against the rebels, who appear to have an unlimited supply of weapons and training from Russia. As the country nears bankruptcy and the reform programme demanded by the Maidan revolution last year is sidelined by the war effort, the drive to call up new recruits is floundering.
The conflict has cost more than 5,000 lives since it began last spring and Russia shows no signs of toning down its backing for the separatist movement. Poroshenko is due to meet his Russian, French and German counterparts in Minsk on Wednesday, and the financial and emotional burden of months of conflict could mean Ukraine is forced to accept a deal that effectively gives up control of rebel-held territory. [Continue reading…]