Hi, first time posting here...
I thought some might appreciate this map I made with Google Earth, depicting possible Ukraine partition scenarios.
For all the work in making this map, partition seems far from the foregone conclusion at this point, though.
Despite the Orange and Ultra accusations of Russia provoking a partition of Ukraine, Russia has in fact done everything but.
If Russia wished to, it could have done so long ago, yet has refrained. Remembering Ukraine's last presidential election, Russia in fact seemed able to work with either side that won: the accusations against Timoshenko of course are for cooperating with Russia. Party of Regions is somewhat correlated to a 'Russophile' sentiment or population, but it just really is not a great 'champion' for that cause, the flirting with EU clearly shows that, and if he had better options Yanukovych shows no sign he would really prefer aligning with Russia/Putin. The partition of Ukraine is really not the #1 best scenario for Russia, and playing for a united Ukraine that is reasonably cooperative with Russia and NOT part of NATO seems to have been Russia's plan so far: leaving Crimea within Ukraine, which has the least reason to be within Ukraine, helped Russia's position by shoring up the Russophile vote.
That said, the Orange/Ultra factions could end up provoking a situation where SE Russophile Ukraine feels forced to step up for their interests and pursue partition, either for independence or uniting with Russia. Russia's latest friendly gestures indicating that the same gas/loan deal Yanukovych agreed to is also available to them really puts the ball in their court: they either continue in a path of cooperation with Russia which is to Russia's interest, or they pursue ties with EU which would conflict with that (as Russia has laid out), and they will be actively sabotaging a 'good deal' for much of Ukraine... causing the SE Ukraine most negatively affected by that to act. The cohabitation of Orange parties, UDAR, and the Ultras is an unstable situation, and the Ultras will certainly try to push things in an anti-Russian direction. Civil disorder from an estranged Ultra faction against their recent allies, in combination with SE Ukraine unhappiness against an Orange government could lead to a situation where the SE could easily separate. Any Orange/Ultra attempt to repeal official status for Russia language would only precipitate that.
Anyways, about the map: It doesn't include the far West and South/East just because the important part is the dividing border.
Of course both sides would like the largest area possible, but including areas that don't politically agree makes the border less stable long-term.
I see propaganda from Russia and that side considering Kiev as "East Ukraine" that would remain tied to Russia, but that just isn't valid anymore.
If partition DOES occur (which I think is not a certain outcome), Kiev seems certain to be in the 'non-Russophile' portion, at least in a consensual, stable solution.
I made the map based on the last parliamentary election results, primarily using the multi-seat result as most strongly representative.
The exception is the orange and green ('Party of Regions') enclaves, which either are isolated from their political affinity (Northern Zhytomyr Oblast),
or are so materially tied to a metropolitan region on the opposite political side, that joining them with their political affinity seems unrealistic.
I used actual highway and road networks along with proximity to major cities and towns to make that distinction.
The "Orange" enclaves within the Hot Pink border also are necessary for contiguity between Kremenchuk and the rest of South/East Ukraine.
I also present further regions that 'could' be attached to a 'South East Ukraine' entity, although they are not necessary for that to be viable.
These are shaded in colors progressing from purple to light blue, representing decreasing likelyhood/desirability.
Within these regions, the "Orange" shading means something slightly different than the Orange within the Hot Pink border (on the SE Ukraine side):
in these 'optional' regions, the orange shading indicates where "Orange" parties won the single-seat election as well as the multi-seat election,
so in otherwords they are districts where Party of Regions support is extremely low, and thus including these orange shaded areas is not ideal.
Within the Hot Pink border (on the SE Ukraine side), the orange regions were actually won by Party of Regions in the single-seat election.
The green area in Northern Chernihiv Oblast actually is politically similar to the "Hot Pink" border area, but was just too close to Chernihiv city.
If despite that, said region wanted to join a 'Russophile Ukraine' or accede to Russia along with the Shostka/NE Sumy Oblast region, that should be fine.
The rest of Chernihiv Oblast was won by Lyashko's Radical Party, not closely Orange-aligned, so it is up to this faction which 'side' to join in partition.
The furthest NE portion of Chernihiv Oblast is actually closer to Shostka region and so I included it within the Hot Pink border of the Russophile region, even while the adjacent green area close to Chernihiv City was not, based on distances and roads.
In terms of Sumy Oblast, the most likely/desirable regions (that weren't won by Party of Regions in the multi-seat election) would be the region containing Sumy City itself, which I have isolated from more rural regions in SW Sumy Oblast, to allow a highway from Kharkiv to NE Sumy Oblast. The only 'strongly Orange' districts here are most of Sumy City itself, and the most southern district which is sparsely populated (and which I divided, as the western portion is more closely linked with towns outside this region). Without this region, the NE portion of Sumy Oblast would be isolated from the 'Russophile' entity, and probably would either merge with Russia or remain with West Ukraine.
The southern/southwestern Sumy Oblast region outlined in blue is ALL 'strongly Orange' sentiment, yet seems strongly linked to both Sumy City and Kharkiv, thus it might 'make sense' to go along with the larger regions' politics, though it does not seem unviable to not do so. The west/north-western Sumy Oblast region of Konotop-Krolevets actually contains signifigant 'green' Party of Regions supporting regions, and only a small amount of 'strongly Orange' sentiment. This could possibly accede to the 'Russophile' entity whether or not Sumy City joins it, but I would say the chances of Konotop-Krolevets joining is vastly increased IF Sumy City does remain in the 'Russophile' entity, and almost certain if even just Chernihiv joins, much less both Chernihiv and Sumy City. There is a rural region just south of Konotop which I shaded as distinct because it could be viable irrespective of Konotop's status, but if both Konotop and Sumy City remain 'Russophile', the logic for this region coming along does increase alot.
Around Kremenchuk, the purple outlined regions seem rather closely tied to Kremenchuk (and/or nearby Oleksandriya) so would do well to go along, but at the same time it doesn't seem unviable if they were not to do so, since they are not too isolated from Poltava City and Cherkassy City, respectively. The light blue regions abutting these are similar, but seem less tied to Kremenchuk/Oleksandriya, as they are equidistant to Poltava City and the major highway leading there, so it seems more wholly up to political preference. I include all the remainder of Kirovhrad Oblast because it too has reasonable interests/ties, being on the major highway linking Kremenchuk and Odessa, and also being close to Dnipropetrovsk. All of these areas were won by Party of Regions in the single-seat election, with the exception of the majority of Kirovhrad city, which was the only 'strongly Orange' district.
With a more strongly Russophile SE Ukraine, the importance of Crimea in electorally balancing Orange tendencies somewhat disappears. While perhaps not really an urgent issue if SE Ukraine is strongly Russophile, a deal where Moscow pays off SE Ukraine/takes over it's debt in exchange for full sovereignty of Crimea and Sevastopol seems plausible. Somewhat relatedly, Transnistria and Gagauzia from Moldova could very well have reason to secede and join 'Novo Rossiya'/SE Ukraine, if Moldova continues to move in direction towards EU and/or unification with Romania. (that's also possible if Ukraine doesn't partition, but it almost seems more likely if Ukraine does partition, otherwise the Orange would see that as affecting the electoral balance to their disadvantage)
How would these two halves relate?
Optimistically, they could manage to separate somewhat amicably. With separate West-Central and South-East Ukrainian states, the conflict between Party of Regions and the Orange parties loses it's centrality. The Orange parties would no longer need the Ultranationalists to achieve power, so they could aim to sideline them and pursue a more moderate policy. Even if EU focused, the tension of feeling drawn into Russia's sphere would be gone, and a 'reasonable' relation to both EU and Russia could be pursued in meantime (i.e. as Russia has wanted all along with united Ukraine, but could not achieve because of EU/Orange politics). Broken in two, EU aid to Western Ukraine would effectively be doubled in effectiveness, disregarding any further efficiencies from not needing to restructure heavy industry in SE Ukraine, so perhaps both sides could be more succesful apart. With SE Ukraine separated, there is no fear of Russian language being 'dominant', so actually fulfilling European norms for minority languages could be achieved, allowing Russian language rights in Kiev or wherever it's significant. As in Croatia, they could even rely on small Russophile or Transcarpathian parties for a majority, without the Ultranationalists. Keeping good relations in the short and long terms means avoiding military conflict. A treaty keeping foreign forces and military alliances out of BOTH West and East Ukraine seems most likely to achieve that (and that would provide a reason for SE Ukraine to sell Crimea to Russia, letting Russia have free reign there, not far from status quo re: Sevastopol, but not extending military bases to Odessa, etc.)