The explosive clashes in the Ukraine have all of the earmarks of another Cold War horror of decades ago, according to retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters.
"This is looking awfully much like Berlin, or East Berlin in 1953, Budapest in '56, Prague in '68, Warsaw in '81," Peters told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Russian President Vladimir "Putin plays for keeps and he is at heart … he believes in the Russian empire and he is at heart an imperialist."
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The violence between anti-government protestors and security forces has already resulted in more than 100 deaths and 500 injuries.
The protests were partially triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of a pending trade treaty with the European Union and his embrace of more aid from Russia.
Peters, a Fox News strategic analyst and author of the war novel "Hell or Richmond,"
believes Putin is plotting to make the Ukraine part of Russia once again.
"[He] wants to yank Ukraine back into the Russian fold where he believes it belongs to continue his Russian empire building, increase Russia's population by 45 million, regain all that Black Sea frontage, regain a common border with Europe, with Poland and Romania," he said.
"Within Ukraine, there are two sides: those in the eastern third of the country who are ethnic Russians by and large speak Russian…. The western two-thirds speak Ukrainian, they feel they are part of Europe."
The ongoing clash could easily turn into a civil war, according to Peters.
"The logical solution, which won't happen, at least not without a lot of bloodshed, would be to split Ukraine up into the western two-thirds that's the real Ukraine, Ukrainian-speaking, civilized and let the eastern third barbaric Russian speakers go back to Russia," he said.
"Eastern Ukraine is an industrial post-Stalinist wasteland. Let Russia have it."
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