It's not on most people's radar, I think, that what's going on inside Ukraine is a proxy war between the West — mainly the U.S., aided by the E.U. — and Russia. In the same way, the long "internal" Nicaraguan conflict of the Reagan '80s was a proxy war between, yet again, the U.S. and Russia (also, between the U.S. and anyone in Latin America who didn't want to live under U.S. continental domination):
The [Nicaraguan] Revolution marked a significant period in Nicaraguan history and revealed the country as one of the major proxy war battlegrounds of the Cold War with the events in the country rising to international attention.
Although the initial overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1978–79 was a bloody affair, the Contra War of the 1980s took the lives of tens of thousands of Nicaraguans and was the subject of fierce international debate. During the 1980s both the FSLN (a leftist collection of political parties) and the Contras (a rightist collection of counter-revolutionary groups) received large amounts of aid from the Cold War super-powers (respectively, the Soviet Union and the United States).
The so-called Ukrainian uprising is similar, with forces on both sides (not just one) aided and abetted by more powerful nations using others to do their bidding. In fact, the whole recent history of Ukrainian unrest has in it the heavy hand of the West (click; it's a good read).
In that context, I offer the following, Mikhail Gorbachev quoted from an interview he gave to RT.com:
Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the US of dragging Russia into a new Cold War. The former Soviet president fears the chill in relations could eventually spur an armed conflict.
“Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism,” Gorbachev said in an interview with Interfax.
The former USSR leader, whose name is associated with the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, is worried about the possible consequences.
“What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid they might take the risk,” he said.
Gorbachev’s criticism of Washington comes as the West is pondering new sanctions against Russia, blaming it for the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine, and alleging Moscow is sending troops to the restive areas. Russia has denied the allegations.
“All we hear from the US and the EU now is sanctions against Russia,” Gorbachev said. “Are they completely out of their minds? The US has been totally ‘lost in the jungle’ and is dragging us there as well.”
There's more; read here to get the full report. There's no question we're in a new cold war with Russia. I've written about the background of betrayal and encirclement that characterizes U.S. relations with Russia since Bush I and Gorbachev negotiated the new path forward in the era of Russian glasnost ("public candor") and perestroika ("restructuring"). Proxies in the new war include our "allies" (clients) in Ukraine; NATO and its march to the borders of Russia; and the price of oil.
You should know that Russia is taking this very seriously. This is not about "that devil Putin," as we in the comfortable TV-watching West are led to see it. For all Russians, this is about what Gorbachev says it's about — "Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism."
Consider just NATO. Imagine Mexico as a Warsaw Pact ally after a "restructuring" in Washington. You don't have to agree to understand that for Russians the encroachment has gone too far. To quote a line Alan Grayson used in another context, "This could end in tears." Mikhail Gorbachev agrees, and he's not the devil, right?