Ukraine on brink of 'civil war'

The very dangerous words have finally been said – the Ukraine could be on the brink of very serious civil strife. The situation seems set to escalate, as the US refuses to recognise the result as legitimate. Now both parties have upped the ante :

Calling for a general strike, Mr Yushchenko told a vast crowd of supporters in the central Independence Square that Ukraine was on the brink of a “civil conflict”.

Mr Kuchma, who backs Mr Yanukovych, denounced the opposition protests and warned civil war “could well become a reality at the present time”.

If war does break out, how would it affect already strained Russo-European relations? In my humble opinion the election was indeed rigged, and Putin is backing the man who wants Ukraine to move further east rather than further West. If Putin can engineer this kind of behaviour, I have no doubt he is intimately involved, then how will approach continuing tensions in the Ossetia/Abkhazia disputes?

Any civil conflict in this region will have huge implications, and could well draw in a number of other countries. Reports and rumours also suggest that Russian Special Forces, the famed Alpha, who took Kabul in under 2 hours during the Soviet invasion in December 1979, are now in the Ukraine – dressed as Ukrainian soldiers.

Ukraine has 50 million people – a significant number. More CIA facts are here.