It is likely,
particularly if the military operation does not achieve its objectives quickly
and gets bogged down with a protracted combat, that the president will ask
Verkhovna Rada to introduce martial law in eastern Ukraine. All this means a
rapid escalation of the violent conflict and most likely the biggest strategic
mistake in Poroshenko’s young presidency. It will be a tragedy for millions of
Ukrainians, and a fatal blow to Ukraine’s democratic transition.
Many Ukrainians who
have been living for months on the waves of the heightened patriotism verging
on the nationalistic fervor fed by the images of violence in Donbas have criticized
Poroshenko for his hesitant and feeble response toward the armed threat.
The blind national
consensus that emerged considered questioning of the raison d’être
behind the armed campaign as either the expression of unwanted pacifism in a
time of war or, simply, treason of the Ukrainian national interests.