Has the European Union over played its hand? It seems that when soft encouragement was given to those in Ukraine, who favoured closer ties with the EU, no end game was considered. The Ukraine government fell and was replaced without elections. Russia reacted and so Ukraine is divided. It was clear from the start of the street protests that there was a clear divide within Ukraine, as to the direction that the country should take. It seems the western part wants close ties with Europe, while the east and Crimea see their future with Russia.

The protesters won their street battle but at the cost of splitting their country. The old saying “if you don’t know where you are going you will end up somewhere else” seems to explain the current situation. It seems that an expectation was that, just as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Russia would not react. But these are different times and Putin has a very different view of the role that Russia is entitled to play in world affairs.

For most of us here in Ireland, we are side line players but for some it’s much more real. This came very starkly across to me when purchasing my Sunday papers. As I paid, the assistant spoke to me of her fears for her native Poland and what was going to happen in the region. Since then I’ve been engaged in a number of such conversations with members of the emigrant community who originally hail from states which once formed part of the Soviet Union.

A resolution to the crisis must be found quickly. It must be one which recognises the views of the citizens, while providing protection to the integrity of Russia’s neighbours.