Pro-Russian forces seize Crimean parliament building

posted at 8:01 am on February 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Tensions have rapidly increased in Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny. After several days of unrest in which the Crimean regional parliament declined to seek separation from the new government of Ukraine, several armed men seized the building and hoisted the Russian flag onto the roof. The new government in Kyiv warned Russia to keep its military forces in its Crimean base within the confines of the facility:

Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.

“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression.”

In response, Russian military jets began patrols near the Ukraine border, in addition to keeping its ground forces on alert status:

— Russian fighter jets were patrolling the airspace on their side of the border with Ukraine, and Russia’s military remained on alert. “Constant air patrols are being carried out by fighter jets in the border regions,” Interfax reported, quoting a Russian ministry statement. “From the moment they received the signal to be on high alert, the air force in the western military region left for the … air bases.” (Reuters)

— Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, “warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea ‘will be considered a military aggression.’ ” (AP)

Also according to the AP, the now-deposed Viktor Yanukovich has surfaced in Moscow after disappearing from Kyiv. Yanukovich reportedly tried to get across the border almost immediately after fleeing the capital, but was prevented from flying out of Kharkiv by border guards. An arrest warrant for mass murder was issued shortly afterward, but Yanukovich had gone underground by that time. The AP update briefly notes that a Russian official announced that Yanukovich had asked for protection from Moscow and gotten it.

Yanukovich also declared himself the rightful head of state for Ukraine:

 Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still president of Ukraine and warned its “illegitimate” rulers that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept mob rule.

In a statement sent to Russian news agencies from an unknown location, Yanukovich railed against the “extremists” who had stolen power in Ukraine, threatened violence against himself and his closest aides and passed “illegal” laws. …

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said he had no information and could not comment on Yanukovich’s statement.

Put this together and it looks like a pretext for action on Putin’s part. For the moment, he’s still playing his cards close to the vest; he’s agreed to sit down for IMF discussions on a Ukraine bailout to take the place of the one Putin suspended, for instance. Yanukovich is simply a clown show, though, as his credibility in Ukraine is shot, and Putin knows it. The Crimean peninsula will be the flashpoint for any action, and it’s not long odds on Ukraine losing it, either diplomatically or otherwise. The new government in Kyiv can’t sustain a war against Russia, and the EU won’t attack Putin on their behalf. They could well isolate Putin economically, though, and he knows it, especially if they begin buying natural gas from the US or developing their own through expanded fracking.

Update: The Ukrainian parliament has officially chosen its new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who received 371 out of 450 votes. Yatsenyuk declared that Ukraine’s future is in the EU, but we’ll see what Russia has to say about that.


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It’s always interesting to watch these neutered revolutionary states issue stern warnings to nations with overwhelming, superior military capabilities.

rplat on February 27, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Olympics are definitely over…..its showtime

cmsinaz on February 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

This would be a good time to up our natural gas exports, wouldn’t you think?

Mini-14 on February 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

This is going to get out of control. It is going to get out of control and we’ll be lucky if we live through it.

Seriously, I wish the Ukranians luck in the upcoming Russian invasion/takeover.

Steve Eggleston on February 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Olympics are definitely over…..its showtime

cmsinaz on February 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

…yep!…shit will start hitting the fan!

KOOLAID2 on February 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

The new government in Kyiv can’t sustain a war against Russia

It won’t be a classic ground war, more like Chechnya, let’s see how long Putin’s economy can support a large static ground force in an area the size of Ukraine.

Bishop on February 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

No doubt KA2 and Steve

cmsinaz on February 27, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Olympics are definitely over…..its showtime

cmsinaz on February 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Yeah, the guests are gone so now it’s time to beat the kids who acted up during dinner.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM

What mid-terms?

OldEnglish on February 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM

It’s always interesting to watch these neutered revolutionary states issue stern warnings to nations with overwhelming, superior military capabilities.

rplat on February 27, 2014 at 8:05 AM

They obviously have more resolve than then our neutered Liar in Chief.

Walter L. Newton on February 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM

It’s a good thing America elected a strong leader the last go round.

Huh? What’s that you say?

Lolo on February 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

It won’t be a classic ground war, more like Chechnya, let’s see how long Putin’s economy can support a large static ground force in an area the size of Ukraine.

Bishop on February 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

IMO, they won’t try and occupy all of Ukraine. Just the Russian-leaning bits.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Kerry will plant a tree in protest.

mjbrooks3 on February 27, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Putin’s more likely to repeat what happened with Georgia (and ironically he stole the idea from our Kosovo debacle)

He’ll move troops in to protect the ‘ethnic Russians’ from possbile ‘retaliation/ethnic clensing’ Not to carve off an independant state, no/ just to ‘protect them’.

The_Livewire on February 27, 2014 at 8:19 AM

It won’t be a classic ground war, more like Chechnya, let’s see how long Putin’s economy can support a large static ground force in an area the size of Ukraine.

Bishop on February 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Ukrainians are Eastern Orthodox, not Muslims, so I doubt they’d have the death cult/suicide bombing mentality. Nor have the financial backing of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, does Russia have the finances to occupy all of Ukraine? She can’t afford to lose the warm water port of Sevastopol, but Kiev isn’t worth it.

It’ll be partition.

rbj on February 27, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Putin’s more likely to repeat what happened with Georgia (and ironically he stole the idea from our Kosovo debacle)

He’ll move troops in to protect the ‘ethnic Russians’ from possbile ‘retaliation/ethnic clensing’ Not to carve off an independant state, no/ just to ‘protect them’.

The_Livewire on February 27, 2014 at 8:19 AM

And obama will happily go along with it. Crisis averted!

Naturally Curly on February 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

I find it fascinating that we trust the same liberal media, that spouts lies about us everyday in this country, to deliver an accurate picture of the situation in the Ukraine. People who call themselves constitutionalists cheering on a mob simply doesnt seem right.

Valkyriepundit on February 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

“The Crimean peninsula will be the flashpoint for any action, and it’s not long odds on Ukraine losing it, either diplomatically or otherwise. The new government in Kyiv can’t sustain a war against Russia, and the EU won’t attack Putin on their behalf.”

Nothing like continuing to goad Russia into actually doing it by practically begging the Russians to believe we think it is a fait accompli.

Gerald Ford (Jr?), is that you?

Dusty on February 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Oh yea, we sure showed the world we are firm in our commitments to peace and protection of other nation’s rights with the election of our Nobel winning President. /s

I could just vomit, and I’m embarrassed for my Country. What an absolute piece of garbage who isn’t qualified to run a lemonade stand.

USNCVN on February 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Obama will send ships to the Black sea immediately….

OOF!

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Obama will send ships to the Black sea immediately….

OOF!

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Black Sea? Isn’t that racist?

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

… north toward Kyiv…

It’s clear which side Ed has taken:

Kiev (Russian: Киев) or Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ [ˈkɪjiw])

Shy Guy on February 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Obama will send ships to the Black sea immediately….

OOF!

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Black Sea? Isn’t that racist?

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

HA!

“The men also put up a sign saying ‘Crimea is Russia,’ and threw a flash grenade when a journalist asked them a question.

Ukraine’s acting interior minister says Interior Ministry troops and police have been put on high alert after dozens of men seized local government and legislature buildings in the Crimea region.
A confrontation broke out between pro-Russia separatists and supporters of the country’s new leaders.

It quoted a local Tatar leader, Refat Chubarov, as saying on Facebook: ‘I have been told that the buildings of parliament and the council of ministers have been occupied by armed men in uniforms that do not bear any recognisable insignia.’

‘They have not yet made any demands,’ he said.

It was not immediately clear who was in control of the buildings, but there were reports that the Russian flag was flying over both in the regional capital, Simferopol.
Ethnic Tatars who support Ukraine’s new leaders and pro-Russia separatists had confronted each other outside the regional parliament yesterday.

About 100 police were gathered in front of the parliament building and doors into the building appeared to have been blocked by wooden crates.

The streets around the parliament were mostly empty apart from people going to work…

“With Crimea now the last big bastion of opposition to the new post-Yanukovich political order in Kiev, Ukraine’s new leaders have been voicing alarm over signs of separatism there.

The Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, were victimised by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in World War Two and deported en masse to Soviet Central Asia in 1944 on suspicion of collaborating with Nazi Germany.

Tens of thousands of them returned to their homeland after Ukraine gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.

The clashes came after fears were raised that the Russian president Vladimir Putin may be planning to send forces into Ukraine after the toppling of its Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.
Putin mobilised more than 150,000 troops and an armada of ships yesterday for a drill to test the combat readiness of forces in western Russia as tensions over Ukraine continue to grow.
In addition to the soldiers – nearly twice the British Army’s manpower after planned cuts – 880 tanks, 210 aircraft and 80 warships will take part in the operation.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said unspecified measures were also being taken to protect the country’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, southern Ukraine.

He claimed the operation was not linked to the crisis in Ukraine, insisting it was intended to ‘check the troops’ readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security’.
The drill comes 48 hours after Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country’s interests and citizens in Ukraine were under threat in language that echoed his statements justifying Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 when he was president…”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2569003/Armed-men-seize-parliament-buildings-Ukraines-Crimea-clashes-break-pro-Russia-groups-supporters-new-leaders.html

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 8:50 AM

IMO, they won’t try and occupy all of Ukraine. Just the Russian-leaning bits.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

True. Take Crimea and let EU/USA spot the 35 billion dollars that Kiev wants.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Article Outlining The Start Of WWIII

*sips coffee*

BigGator5 on February 27, 2014 at 9:02 AM

This is going to get out of control. It is going to get out of control and we’ll be lucky if we live through it.

Seriously, I wish the Ukranians luck in the upcoming Russian invasion/takeover.

Steve Eggleston on February 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Good luck to us as well. We have a Russian warship parked in Cuba now.

dogsoldier on February 27, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Hagel speaks:

The US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, has urged Russia not to take any action on Ukraine that could be misinterpreted.

Misinterpreted? There will be no misinterpretation when you see tanks moving through Kerch toward Sevastopol.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

“Last Thursday, Putin spoke at the Kremlin at an event held prior to Defender of the Fatherland Day. His focus was global security, but he didn’t explicitly mention Ukraine. Russia, he said, “must not only be vigilant, but also prepared for all developments.” Many of his listeners, no doubt, thought of Kiev.

‘Our Common Forefathers’

On several occasions in the past year, Putin has made clear just how important Russia’s neighbor is to Moscow. At a conference held in Kiev in July 2013, he held a speech focusing on “Orthodox-Slavic values.” He paid tribute to “our common forefathers,” who, by choosing to adopt Orthodoxy, “made a choice for the entire holy Rus.” He mentioned the 17th century unification of Ukraine and Russia.

Putin also spoke of the cultural and economic advances Ukraine made within the czardom and as part of the Soviet Union. No mention was made of the victims of Soviet collectivization: his statements were more focused on the future. The two countries’ “shared past” should be the “foundation for the creation of new integral ties.” His appeal to Ukraine, Russia’s “partner, friend and brother,” was clear: The country should not become a partner to the European Union, it should instead join the customs union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The situation in Kiev reminds historically aware Russians of the revolutionary chaos in 1917-1918, an episode expertly immortalized by author Mikhail Bulgakov in his novel “The White Guard.”

The further the Ukrainian state crumbles and the greater the separation becomes between Kiev and eastern and southern Ukraine — particularly the Crimean Peninsula — the more intense will be the need among Ukraine’s huge Russian population for protection from the “Russian brother” to the east….”

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/situation-in-ukraine-puts-putin-in-a-difficult-spot-a-955604.html

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Good luck to us as well. We have a Russian warship parked in Cuba now.

dogsoldier on February 27, 2014 at 9:04 AM

That’s true. And where are the nuclear submarines parked?

Don’t worry. I’m sure Obama has it under control./s

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

you, know I live in a country where the president is a crook and a liar, who forgot all of his electoral promises as soon as he got into office. he robbed the treasury, depleted our military, and made mockery of our laws. It is very likely, that his 8 years in power, and billions he moved into the pocket of his supporters, will influence the next election cycle such that the next leader will be his clone or an member of his clique, because his cohorts got richer and more powerful as those who I support got weaker.
Should I storm DC now, or should I wait till 2016 elections when his term expires? I am torn.

runner on February 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Russian Forces were emboldened the moment Susan Rice related to them that The obama Administration was going to take a hard “line” on any intervention.

Medveded: Is funny, Vladimir?

Putin: Da Dmitry, is funny.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:20 AM

IMO, they won’t try and occupy all of Ukraine. Just the Russian-leaning bits.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

How fast will they build the Crimean Wall?

docflash on February 27, 2014 at 9:21 AM

IMO, they won’t try and occupy all of Ukraine. Just the Russian-leaning bits.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

How fast will they build the Crimean Wall?

docflash on February 27, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Too early to tell really.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Kramer agrees.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5ePEZCOdnA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Seth Halpern on February 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Russian Forces were emboldened the moment Chuck Hagel made the announcement that US Military Forces would be reduced to pre-WW II strength during the height of Russian intervention in the Middle East, Baltic States and Eastern Europe.

Medveded: Is funny, Vladimir?

Putin: Da Da Dmitry, is funny.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:26 AM

It’s always interesting to watch these neutered revolutionary states issue stern warnings to nations with overwhelming, superior military capabilities.

rplat on February 27, 2014 at 8:05 AM

That it is. Always interesting.

I can see if the Ukrainian government is attempting to play Putin against the rest of the world. We saw how that worked with Syria…Putin (as a result of the impotence of our current leader) IS the rest of the world…

mrteachersir on February 27, 2014 at 9:28 AM

[Shy Guy on February 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM]

I think it’s either ignorance or the inestimable “to be fair” character leaking out all over the place in this post. To be fair, it’s probably both.

For example, you complain about his use of Kyiv in his opening, “Tensions have rapidly increased in Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny.”

Me? I’ll complain about his “east” and “north”. Obviously Ed hasn’t looked at a map of the region or he’d have chosen a different flower to grace his prose.

I’d note, also that Ed’s use of “heritage” is liberally skewed Russian, since the heritage of anyone under 23 ears of age, is Ukrainian, which, countrywide, is about 26 % of the population. That in conjunction with the facts that the Soviets recognized the Crimea as being part of the Ukraine at least as far back as 1974, while also partaking in a policy everywhere for the Russification of every Republic by the massive coercive movements of people into and out of areas, one would think “fair” writers would be a little more circumspect about acting like April Glaspie on this subject.

Dusty on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

List of Oil Companies in the Ukraine. (data from 2008)

“I list below some of the companies involved in the upstream part of the oil and gas business in Ukraine. As seen from the list below there is 9 players from Ukraine, 8 from UK, 6 from the U.S.A and 8 from Russia.

There are several companies from other countries as well, but they are only present with minor amounts.

VikOil (Ukrainian)
Ukrnafta VAT (Ukraine)
Ukrgazbydobuvannya Affiliated Company (Ukraine)
Naftogaz of Ukraine NJSC (Ukraine)
Shebelinkagazvydobuvannya (Ukraine)
Poltavgazvydobuvannya (Ukraine)
Kharkivgazvydobuvannya (Ukraine)
L’vivgazvydobuvannya (Ukraine)
Ferroexpo (Ukraine)
CanArgo Energy (UK)
Poltava Petroeum Company JV (UK)
Europa Oil & Gas Ltd (UK)
Cadogan (UK)
Cardinal Resources plc (UK)
JKX Oil & Gas plc (UK)
Nostra Terra Oil and Gas Company plc (UK)
Regal Petroleum plc (UK)
Hunt Oil (U.S.A)
Vanco (U.S.A)
Chevron (USA)
USENCO (USA)
JV UkrKarpat Oil (USA)
JV Karpatsky Petroleum Corporation (USA)
TNK-BP Holding (Russia)
RAO Gazprom (Russia)
TNK (Russia)
Lukoil (Russia)
SlavNeft (Russia)
TatNeft (Russia)
Gruppa Alliance (Russia)
Alliance Oil Company (Refineries) (Russia)
Kuwait Energy (Kuwait) – Asset was previously owned by Cardinal Energy Ltd (UK)
Kazakhoil (Kherson refinery) (Kazakhstan)
Itera International Energy Company USA and Ukraine)
Itera-Ukraine (USA and Ukraine)
JV Eurogas (USA and Germany)
Polish Oil &Gas Company (Poland)
JV Plast (Greece-Cyprus)
Epic Energy Ltd (Canada)
Capital Oil (Swedish)
Tiway Oil (Norway)

According to the 2008 gas balance, in the current year, the country will consume 75 bcm of this fuel,
with 55 bcm being imported, while 20 bcm is of domestic extraction. The level of annual oil consumption in Ukraine is some 20 million tons with the domestic extraction of some 4.5 million tons of oil and gas condensate.

There are three petroliferous regions in Ukraine: in the west (the Carpathian region), in the east (the Dnipro-Donetsk region) and in the south (the Black Sea – Azov Sea region). The Dnipro-Donetsk basin is a major producing region of Ukraine accounting for 90% of Ukrainian production from over 120 oil and gas fields. The cumulative production from the basin is estimated at over 52 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1,3 billion barrels of oil. Over 3,000 wells have been drilled in the basin to date. The basin holds potential for deep gas exploration (deeper than 3.8km). The Carpathian basin is relatively large – over 700 million barrels of oil and 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The Carpathian foredeep has been explored to depths of 4.0km to 4.5km. Despite the extensive activities, deeper parts of the basin offer very good potential for further exploration.

The Black Sea – Azov Sea basin is predominantly gas-prone and includes natural gas fields.

The Ukrainian part of the Black Sea shelf may have substantial oil and gas reserves, with mild weather and maximum water depth of 100 m. The hydrocarbon potential of the Ukrainian Black Sea shelf is substantial and it has been inefficiently explored, i.e. large structures in deeper waters have been bypassed due to the lack of offshore technology during Soviet times.

Amongst oil industry specialists working in Ukraine there is a widespread belief that, in spite of the challenges, the benefits both for investors and for the country from successful oil and gas exploration/production projects are potentially very substantial. Currently a great deal of work is being done in Ukraine by many dedicated individuals in government and in state organizations to maintain and extend the improvements in the legal, fiscal and business regimes. Such effort is now being rewarded by a steadily improving climate for upstream investment. As a result the future for Ukraine’s oil and gas sector is now brighter than at any time previously…”

http://neftegaz.ru/en/analisis/view/7638

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The GOP better be ready to effect more foreign policy from the chambers of Congress before 2016 or Russia returns to pre-Reagan influence and power.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Caspian region oil pipelines map

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2002/09/images/oilmap01.gif

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Hagel speaks:

The US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, has urged Russia not to take any action on Ukraine that could be misinterpreted.

Misinterpreted? There will be no misinterpretation when you see tanks moving through Kerch toward Sevastopol.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Any action would be misinterpreted by this administration. Like how they misinterpreted the use of chemical weapons by the Jihadists in Syria as an Assad action, or misinterpreted the underhanded means by which the ACA was passed as “overwhelming popular support”, or even how they misinterpret polling that shows 70% of Americans don’t like the ACA into “overwhelming popular support”. Hagel is simply referring to his inept boss and himself.

mrteachersir on February 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

European companies have been buying up the shale acreage in Ukraine. Map at link.

“n 2010, the Italian Major IOC Eni had acquired Minsk Energy Resources to become operator of three licences in the Polish Baltic Basin, a highly prospective shale gas play located in the north-east of Poland.
In Poland ENI could deploy the expertise in shale gas field development accumulated through its joint venture in the Barnett Shale in Texas, USA, the first shale gas basin in the world to be developed on a large-scale.
Then in 2011, ENI had reached an Agreement with Cadogan Petroleum plc to farm-in two exploration and development licenses located in the prolific Dniepr-Donetz basin, one of the most promising in Ukraine.

The Dnieper-Donets basin is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production from over 120 oil and gas fields.
The Agreement enabled ENI to put a first step in the Ukrainian shale gas in acquiring:
- 30% with an option to increase its participation up to 60% in the Pokrovskoe exploration licence
– 60% interest in the Zagoryanska licence.
Through a working program in different phases of capital expenditure ENI engaged a first package of approximately $30 million including drilling and seismic re-processing, plus a second package of $38 million.
Then ENI will pay further amounts of up to $90 million as a results from these programs and the award of the production licences.
The licenses will be operated through a joint venture which has already been agreed by Cadogan and ENI.

ENI acquires 50% of Ukrainian Westgasinvest
In June 2012, ENI signed a share purchase Agreement with Ukrainian state-owned National Joint Stock Company Nak Nadra Ukrayny and Cadogan again, but to acquire a 50,01% interest and operatorship of the Ukrainian company LLC Westgasinvest.

http://www.2b1stconsulting.com/eni-increases-acreage-in-polish-and-ukrainian-shale-gas/

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Energy breakdown info on the region at this link…

“Ukraine is important to world energy markets because it is a critical transit center for exports of Russian oil and natural gas to Europe, as well as a significant energy consumer. Ukraine’s geographic position, linking East and West, while also holding critical warm water ports on the Black Sea, has made the country a trade link of growing importance between the former Soviet Union and Europe for energy and other goods…”

http://www.marcon.com/print_index.cfm?SectionGroupsID=51&PageID=458

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Article Outlining The Start Of WWIII

*sips coffee*

BigGator5 on February 27, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Nah. This will be Georgia part II, not WWIII. The Russians don’t have the money or manpower to sustain a World War. They couldn’t even conquer the whole of tiny Georgia.

If we have WWIII this decade, it’s going to be China that triggers it.

The GOP better be ready to effect more foreign policy from the chambers of Congress before 2016 or Russia returns to pre-Reagan influence and power.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Russia is never going to return to the “glory days” of the USSR no matter how hard Putin tries. They’re a total has-been that only gets away with what they do because of their former superpower status.

The situation developing in the South China Sea is far more dangerous. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-china-philippines-idUSBREA1P0I320140226

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Hagel is simply referring to his inept boss and himself.

mrteachersir on February 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Good point. We have Obama playing the Great Game against Putin – community organizer meets KGB.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

This is a HUGE factor. Russian hydrocarbons are currently hard to obtain, due to geographical constraints (namely, much of it is trapped in rather in-accessible tundra and permafrost). The hydrocarbons in the areas surrounding Russia are less difficult to obtain. Russia is trying VERY hard to do what we SHOULD be doing: obtaining energy independence. It is in their national interest to encroach on regions (like Syria) that would effect their ability to be energy independent.

mrteachersir on February 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Crimea – it’s the new Sudentenland.

Hill60 on February 27, 2014 at 9:48 AM

The situation developing in the South China Sea is far more dangerous. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-china-philippines-idUSBREA1P0I320140226

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

I don’t disagree with you concerns about China. Their jets better work better than the belt sander I bought from them though.

But there are a lot of Russian and former Soviet State commenters from different sites I go to and their commentary is pretty ominous. There is definitely a desire to have the Soviet Union return to it’s former glory. They have at least a portion of their populaces that support them in that vein.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Ukraine map of Russian speaking regions and Ukraine speaking regions…

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/lightbox/map-ukraines-regions-identifying-mainly-russian-mainly-ukrainian-photo-164744902.html

From the link:

“Kerry had previously urged “every country” to respect the “territorial integrity” and sovereignty of Ukraine.
“Russia said it will do that, and we think it is important Russia keeps its word,” Kerry stressed.
Moscow has been venting daily outrage at the meteoric turn of events in a neighbour that Putin views as vital to his dream of building a post-Soviet alliance that could rival the EU and NATO blocs.
Diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions will continue, with the EU foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton announcing she would hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on March 6 in Rome after she goes to Kiev on Monday.
And Kerry stressed the Ukraine crisis should not be seen in a Cold War context. “I want to underscore to everybody that this is not ‘Rocky 4′. It is not a zero-sum game,” Kerry said.
- $1bn loan guarantee -
As fears mounted that Ukraine is on the verge of default, Kerry also said Washington was “formulating initially a $1 billion loan guarantee with some other pieces” in aid.
He added the European Union was looking at loan guarantees worth some $1.5 billion.
Ukraine is suffering from Moscow’s decision to freeze a massive bailout package that Putin promised to Yanukovych as his reward for rejecting closer EU ties — a surprise November decision that sparked mass protests that led to Yanukovych’s ouster at the weekend.
Concerns over what would be a catastrophic default by Ukraine — which is seeking $35 billion in Western aid to keep functioning — saw the local currency sink four percent to a record low against the dollar…”

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:52 AM

It is like reading and living a chapter in Clancy’s “Command Authority.”

sailingdutchman on February 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Don’t worry. I’m sure Obama has it under control./s

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Yeah, the idea that Zero is responsible for protecting the US is making me ill. We are so screwed.

dogsoldier on February 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Putin will invade the Crimea and will swallow up Ukraine. At best, the EU and Obama will launch a weak protest at the United Nations, and we all know how “effective” that is. The only weapon the west has against Putin is to throw Russia out of the G-7 or G-8 meetings and say that the IMF will no longer do business with Russia. Don’t know if that will hurt Putin enough to leave Ukraine alone, but it will sure put a dent in his finances. Probably the best we can hope for.

Libertyship46 on February 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This is a HUGE factor. Russian hydrocarbons are currently hard to obtain, due to geographical constraints (namely, much of it is trapped in rather in-accessible tundra and permafrost). The hydrocarbons in the areas surrounding Russia are less difficult to obtain. Russia is trying VERY hard to do what we SHOULD be doing: obtaining energy independence. It is in their national interest to encroach on regions (like Syria) that would effect their ability to be energy independent.

mrteachersir on February 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Yep.

The Ukraine has the largest coal deposits in the region…It is also squatting on huge reserves throughout the landmass and in the Black Sea.

Despite the rhetoric…Putin is going to safeguard the energy interests of Russia…even is that means civil war in the Ukraine.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Zero couldn’t even manage to protect a US Consulate. Actually he REFUSED to protect it.

dogsoldier on February 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM

But there are a lot of Russian and former Soviet State commenters from different sites I go to and their commentary is pretty ominous. There is definitely a desire to have the Soviet Union return to it’s former glory. They have at least a portion of their populaces that support them in that vein.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I don’t disagree with you, and they can certainly cause problems like we’re seeing now. But I don’t ever expect to see them rise to the level of threat that we saw from Nazi Germany in WWII where they’re a risk to militarily conquer all of Europe (or like we see now from China where there’s a significant risk they could conquer all of Asia).

The Russians who long for the days of the USSR are like Italians who long for the days of the Roman Empire – lots of dreams, short on practical ways to make it happen.

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Nah. This will be Georgia part II, not WWIII. The Russians don’t have the money or manpower to sustain a World War. They couldn’t even conquer the whole of tiny Georgia.

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Maybe…

But Russia and China…are pals…

Russia and China strengthen trade ties with $85 billion oil deal

“The world’s fastest-growing energy market China and world’s biggest oil producer Russia have strengthened their business ties on Tuesday after signing 21 trade agreements, including a new 100 million ton oil supply deal with China’s Sinopec…”

http://rt.com/business/rosneft-china-sinopec-oil-537/

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Russia, holder of the world’s biggest natural gas reserves, is looking to China as a key energy market as demand from Europe remains weak and the Americas are becoming more self-sufficient in their energy needs.

Rosneft, which is 75 percent state-owned, is vastly expanding its LNG projects to diversify its portfolio, and is focusing heavily on eastern markets, like Japan and China.

Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) struck a $270 billion contract over 25 years at the St.Petersburg Economic forum in June, and secured advance payments from China to help finance its $55 billion acquisition of TNK-BP.

In the next 25 years, Russian oil exports to China will exceed 700 million tons.

China will pump $20 billion of investment into domestic projects in Russia focusing on transport infrastructure; highways, ports, and airports, and they hope to increase investment in Russia four-fold by 2020. By the same year trade turnover between the two countries is expected to reach $100 billion…”

http://rt.com/business/rosneft-china-sinopec-oil-537/

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Katya Gorchinskaya: The not-so-revolutionary new Ukraine government

The Cabinet of Ministers brought to the helm by the EuroMaidan revolution, is a motley crew indeed: A combination of old faces tainted by allegations of corruption, newly emerged revolutionary heroes and appointees who are able to make a difference.

The new government, most of which was appointed by constitutional majority, be an interesting one to watch, but can hardly be called a technocratic one.

The newly approved Cabinet has 21 members, and is heavy on members of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party.

The Kyivpost doesn’t seem to excited about this new government. New boss same as the old boss.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

The situation developing in the South China Sea is far more dangerous. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-china-philippines-idUSBREA1P0I320140226

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

It’s not any one thing or developing event that’s so dangerous. It’s the totality of the world right now. There are so many hot spots world wide that it’s hard to keep track of them all. At one time the US acted responsibly and kept things on an even keel. That’s not happening now since The Won got reelected and achieved more flexibility. Every little tin pot dictator worldwide knows and understands that our little tin pot dictator will waffle and word but not act, that he’s an empty chair. Right now he’s all tied up making sure that gays get a fair shake in the NFL. Oh, and he’s reducing our military effectiveness even more. That’s worked out so well in the past. World’s going to pot and he’s playing golf. Talk about useful idiots.

Oldnuke on February 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

The Kyivpost doesn’t seem to excited about this new government. New boss same as the old boss.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Der Spiegel International wrote a piece on Ukrainian Oligarchs…here’s the link

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/how-oligarchs-in-ukraine-prepared-for-the-fall-of-yanukovych-a-955328.html

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I can’t help but picture Yanukovich and Edward Snowden being forced to share an apartment together.
Cue the Odd Couple theme.
(With Putin as the weird neighbor who stops by too often, shirtless, and invites himself in.)

verbaluce on February 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM

It’s not any one thing or developing event that’s so dangerous. It’s the totality of the world right now. There are so many hot spots world wide that it’s hard to keep track of them all. At one time the US acted responsibly and kept things on an even keel. That’s not happening now since The Won got reelected and achieved more flexibility. Every little tin pot dictator worldwide knows and understands that our little tin pot dictator will waffle and word but not act, that he’s an empty chair. Right now he’s all tied up making sure that gays get a fair shake in the NFL. Oh, and he’s reducing our military effectiveness even more. That’s worked out so well in the past. World’s going to pot and he’s playing golf. Talk about useful idiots.

Oldnuke on February 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Yep.

Follow the big movers…

Russia…China…US

The Europeans don’t have much in the way of military forces…But that could start changing pdq.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM

The Russians who long for the days of the USSR are like Italians who long for the days of the Roman Empire – lots of dreams, short on practical ways to make it happen.

Doomberg on February 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Dated two years ago. Nov. 11,2013

“MOSCOW — When Russians celebrated the Day of National Unity last week, marchers waving imperial flags and shouting racist slogans paraded through cities across the country while ethnic minority citizens and migrants from the former Soviet Union stayed out of sight, better to avoid a beating.

Russians are growing increasingly nationalistic, according to the latest polls, and Muslims from the Caucasus and migrant workers from Central Asia are facing more and more hostility. Those groups get blamed for much of what goes wrong here, including corruption, crime and dead-end jobs.

President Vladimir Putin has tried to exploit the underlying xenophobia, casting himself as a leader defending a special country — built on Christian Orthodox tradition — from a predatory and dissolute world. At the same time, he sounds inclusive regarding the 10 percent of the population that identifies as Muslim, speaking of Russia as a tolerant and multicultural society. It’s a feat of balance that is beginning to show deep strains.

In mid-October, ethnic Russians rioted at a vegetable market in the southern Moscow neighborhood of Biryulyovo, hunting down mostly Muslim migrants from within Russia and without to attack. The unrest was set off by the killing of an ethnic Russian, but it revealed a deep sense of resentment among the young and underemployed…”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/rising-russian-nationalism-sets-off-ethnic-tension/2013/11/11/9c9c15ae-495c-11e3-b87a-e66bd9ff3537_story.html

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Nationalism is rising in lots of places…

Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304610404579403492918900378?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304610404579403492918900378.html

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:20 AM

“Fearful of Beijing’s muscle-flexing in nearby waters and worried about Japan’s economic future, more people are expressing feelings of nationalism, mistrust and sometimes outright hostility toward their neighbors.

“Ideas that have long been suppressed and locked away, like the desire to hate and discriminate, are now pouring out from many corners of the country and amplifying each other in an echo chamber,” says Kiyomi Tsujimoto, a veteran opposition lawmaker. “That’s fueling anti-Korea and anti-China sentiment…”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304610404579403492918900378?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304610404579403492918900378.html

WSJ are equating this to the Tea Party…

Sheeesh!

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

The GOP better be ready to effect more foreign policy from the chambers of Congress before 2016 or Russia returns to pre-Reagan influence and power.

hawkdriver on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Russia and China are expanding and upgrading their navies.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Japan’s constitution prevents them from having a military. However, they have a “self-defense force”. There are currently attempts to change the constitution. China’s aggression is aiding that effort.

A militarized Japan would be a force to deal with. They could have nuclear capability very quickly, if they don’t already have it.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Does Crimea translate to meat grinder? Into the valley of death rode the 600. What’s next, Gallipoli?

Cliff by the Ford on February 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Japan’s constitution prevents them from having a military. However, they have a “self-defense force”. There are currently attempts to change the constitution. China’s aggression is aiding that effort.

A militarized Japan would be a force to deal with. They could have nuclear capability very quickly, if they don’t already have it.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Generational crisis…If you agree with the theory we are witnessing it…

http://www.generationaldynamics.com/pg/ww2010.home.htm

The old is new again…

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

From the Washington Post:

The armed men that seized the local parliament and the regional government headquarters in Simferopol early Thursday barricaded themselves inside both buildings and raised Russian flags, according to Ukraine’s new interior minister.

Strange, when the buildings in Kiev were occupied they were called “protesters”. But now in Crimea they are called “armed men”. (Emphasis is mine.)

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The old is new again…

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Yep.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Does Crimea translate to meat grinder? Into the valley of death rode the 600. What’s next, Gallipoli?

Cliff by the Ford on February 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM

That would depend on the european investors/governments.

They might negotiate for partition and nip it in the bud?

They might settle for the coal…But will Putin?

Putin ain’t gonna give up the Black Sea…that’s for sure.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM

The Ukrainians need to move quickly with a personal liberty agenda. Give the people what they would never get from the Russians. Trying to hold Putin at arms length at the same time. And not to be able to look to America for help. This administration has no sympathy for their kind of revolution. A very delicate time for a country that has been denied independence for much of its existence. What would Reagan do?

Cliff by the Ford on February 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM

General dynamics analysis…

“As we’ve discussed several times, western Ukraine is mostly populated by Ukrainian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians, while eastern Ukraine is mostly populated by Russian-speaking ethnic Russians. However, even eastern Ukraine isn’t entirely Russian, and although the Russian language is spoken there, it’s spoken with a Ukrainian accent.

The exception is the Crimea, the body of land at the bottom of Ukraine, jutting into the Black Sea, and connected to mainland Ukraine by a narrow strip of land. This is the most Russian part of Ukraine, and the most Russian part of Crimea is the port of Sevastopol, a strategically important naval port hosting Russia’s Black Sea fleet. This is the place to which deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled over the weekend, and he has not been seen publicly since then. It’s impossible to predict what will happen to Ukraine from the current crisis, but one thing is certain: Russia will not let go of Sevastopol.

Talk of “separatism” is high in Sevastopol. And we’re not talking about separatism of east Ukraine from west Ukraine. We’re talking about separation of Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. Sevastopol’s city council on Monday already demanded a referendum on rejoining what they call “The Motherland.”

The situation has become sufficiently alarming that even Moscow is backing down a bit. Two days ago, Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev referred to the situation as “an armed uprising” by “people with black masks strolling through Kiev with Kalashnikov rifles.”

But on Tuesday, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was considerably more subdued:

“We are using our contacts with the various political forces at play in Ukraine in order to calm the situation down.
[It is] dangerous and counter-productive to try to force upon Ukraine a choice on the principle of ‘you are either with us or against us’. We want Ukraine to be part of the European family in every sense of the word.”

Whether this reference to the “European family” represents a change in policy remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a change in rhetoric.

The possibility of Crimea rejoining Russia is of greatest concern to the Tatars, a mostly Turkic language speaking Sunni Muslim ethnic group, currently numbering around 300,000. Russia’s dictator Josef Stalin, who had already engineered the massive famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, in 1944 deported 200,000 Tatars from Crimea, where they had lived for millennia, to central Asia, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s that the Tatars returned in large numbers to Crimea, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence.

Tatars are concerned that a return to Russia rule would mean “the end of the Crimean Tatars,” according to one activist:

“If the violence in Ukraine were to spread to Crimea, 300,000 Crimean Tatars would come face to face with approximately 2 million Russians living there. Soldiers in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol are ready to invade Crimea. The parliament of the Autonomous Region of Crimea is under the control of Russia, is predominantly of Russian ethnicity and is against the Crimean Tatar National Assembly and Crimean Tatars….”

http://www.generationaldynamics.com/pg/ww2010.weblog.htm#e140226

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The Ukrainians need to move quickly with a personal liberty agenda. Give the people what they would never get from the Russians.

Cliff by the Ford on February 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Unfortunately, this is not about freedom for the people. It is about which group of corrupt officials will share the spoils. This “new” government will be just as corrupt as the old government. It’s like two criminal organizations fighting over turf.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

“Long-dormant World War II hatreds came alive again on Wednesday, when ethnic Russians clashed with ethnic Tatars outside of Crimea’s parliament building in Simferopol in southern Ukraine. Thousands of Tatars demonstrated in front of the Crimean parliament on Wednesday to block deputies from passing any legislation that would support the separation of Crimea from Ukraine. According to one Tatar activist:

“We warned them not to arrange a [parliamentary] session. Do not explode the situation in the Crimea. We know they need that session to tear Crimea from Ukraine. We warned that the Crimean Tatars will not allow this to happen.”

As the Tatars chanted “Ukraine” and “Motherland! Crimea! People!”, pro-Russia demonstrators gathered, shouting “Crimea is Russia!”

According to one pro-Russia activist:

“We are here to defend ourselves from those western Ukrainians, who think they can decide our future here in Crimea. They never asked us what we wanted. We’ve spoken Russian for 200 years here, and we’re not going to start speaking that Ukrainian. It’s not even a real language, it’s a dialect.”
Russia’s dictator Josef Stalin, who had already engineered the massive famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, in 1944 deported 200,000 Tatars from Crimea, where they had lived for millennia, to central Asia, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s that the Tatars returned in large numbers to Crimea, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence. However, the bitter feelings between the Russians and the Tatars still remains, and could spiral into a bloody confrontation. Ria Novosti and CS Monitor

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered war games involving 150,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. This followed several days of activities, as trucks full of armed Russian troops arrived at the Black Sea port of Yalta, and armored personnel carriers arrived at Sevastopol. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was “carefully watching what is happening in Crimea.” He claimed that no invasion of Ukraine was planned, but also said:

“The commander-in-chief [Vladimir Putin] has set the task of checking the capability of the armed forces to deal with crisis situations posing a threat to the military security of the country,”
The United States warned Russia against interference in the crisis, saying military intervention by Moscow would be a “grave mistake”. Ria Novosti and Washington Times and Telegraph (London)

http://www.generationaldynamics.com/pg/ww2010.weblog.htm#e140226

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

President Obama has no clue. Neither do his “advisers”…if he actually listens to them.

He will act surprised by this, then he will talk about the self-determination of the Ukraines…as if the uprising could have happened wothout the encouragement, support and probably the instigation by and of the Russians.

Whatever happens, this battle was lost several years ago by the lack of an intelligent foreign policy by this administration toward the relatively newly free nations that used to constitute the Soviet bloc.

It hurts to watch a conflict where the outcome is pre-ordained. UGH!

TKPedersen42 on February 27, 2014 at 10:57 AM

““If the violence in Ukraine were to spread to Crimea, 300,000 Crimean Tatars would come face to face with approximately 2 million Russians living there. Soldiers in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol are ready to invade Crimea. The parliament of the Autonomous Region of Crimea is under the control of Russia, is predominantly of Russian ethnicity and is against the Crimean Tatar National Assembly and Crimean Tatars….”

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The muslim Tartars would be a 5th column against a Russian invasion.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny

Maybe this is nitpicking, but Moscow is almost due north of Crimea (similar to Seattle and L.A.).

The Crimean peninsula will be the flashpoint for any action, and it’s not long odds on Ukraine losing it, either diplomatically or otherwise.

I don’t see how they lose it diplomatically. The Crimean leadership is in favor of remaining part of Ukraine. Yes, most of its citizens are ethnic Russians, but that doesn’t mean they all want to be part of Russia. I suppose we’ll see….

calbear on February 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

From the Guardian (scroll down):

Both the state publication RIA Novosti and radio broadcaster Vladimir Varfolomeev report that Yanukovych will deliver a speech tomorrow from the Russian town of Rostov-on-Don, just over the eastern border.

A government in exile? He claims to still be the President of Ukraine. The victim of a coup. Will Russia back him up on that claim?

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny

Maybe this is nitpicking, but Moscow is almost due north of Crimea (similar to Seattle and L.A.).

The Crimean peninsula will be the flashpoint for any action, and it’s not long odds on Ukraine losing it, either diplomatically or otherwise.

I don’t see how they lose it diplomatically. The Crimean leadership is in favor of remaining part of Ukraine. Yes, most of its citizens are ethnic Russians, but that doesn’t mean they all want to be part of Russia. I suppose we’ll see….

calbear on February 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I think it’s more or less an ideological usage…East v West

Russia and China have aligned together and China is pumping lots of dough into Russia.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I don’t see how they lose it diplomatically. The Crimean leadership is in favor of remaining part of Ukraine. Yes, most of its citizens are ethnic Russians, but that doesn’t mean they all want to be part of Russia. I suppose we’ll see….

calbear on February 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

They may not have much choice in the matter.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

“… We’ve spoken Russian for 200 years here, and we’re not going to start speaking that Ukrainian. It’s not even a real language, it’s a dialect.”

This means war! We’ve arrived at the comedic phase of our little drama.

Ukraine is just another phony country in many respects, like dozens of others left in the wake of past empires and meddling in the region by the Great Powers. Being “Ukrainian” means a lot of very different things to its citizens.

Besides the Crimean War where Russia paid a heavy price for Crimea, Ukraine has been defined politically by outsiders for the last century. Wiki mentions:

Crimean ASSR Formed on October 18, 1921, on the territory of Crimean peninsula, following the Red Army’s eviction of Baron Wrangel’s army, ending the Russian Civil War in Europe. On May 18, 1944, it was disbanded following the deportation of the Crimean Tatars and transformed into Crimean Oblast. On February 19, 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. Re-established on February 12 1991, it declared sovereignty on September 4 of that year. On May 5 1992, it declared independence as the Republic of Crimea, on May 13; the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine overturned the declaration, but compromised on an Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which exists to this day.

So, within living memory, Crimea was not a part of what we call Ukraine. And it is still an autonomous region within Ukraine with its own parliament. Crimea was one of 25+ autonomous regions within the Soviet system. A sample of others would be North Ossetia, Moldova, Chechen-Inguish, Dagestan. So these autonomous regions have a long history of autonomy in some political matters. They are not like, for instance, American states. Or provinces or counties or departments that subdivide most EU countries.

Toocon on February 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM

That would depend on the european investors/governments.

They might negotiate for partition and nip it in the bud?

They might settle for the coal…But will Putin?

Putin ain’t gonna give up the Black Sea…that’s for sure.

workingclass artist on February 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Putin wouldn’t have to give up the entire Black Sea–the northeastern shore (including Sochi) belonged to Russia before the tension in Ukraine.

The danger for Ukraine is that if Russia takes over the entire northern shore of the Black Sea (not only Crimea, but the northwestern coast including Odessa), the remainder of Ukraine would become a landlocked nation, with limited opportunities for trade, probably only with neighbors Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, but it would lose access to the Mediterranean.

Romania and Bulgaria also have ports along the Black Sea, but they could become landlocked if Russia tried to establish dominance over the Black Sea.

However, the Black Sea only has strategic importance as a trade route due to its access to the Mediterranean, but the straits between them are controlled by Turkey, a member of NATO. If the United States and the EU played its cards right, this could be their ace in the hole–Russia needs to stay out of Ukraine, or else NATO closes the straits of Istanbul, effectively cutting Russian trade out of the Mediterranean.

But can the United States play its cards right with Oblivious in the White House?

Steve Z on February 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Pro-Russian forces seize Crimean parliament building

Golly, ya think that maybe one or two Russian operatives are coordinating all this? I know that’s way out there…just wondering.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Somebody get the NFL on this stat! Goodell will have both sides begging for mercy.

xblade on February 27, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Golly, ya think that maybe one or two Russian operatives are coordinating all this? I know that’s way out there…just wondering.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Some claim that the CIA did the same in Kiev. They say that McCain gave them the money to buy all that fancy equipment the “protestors” claimed they bought themselves.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM

For example, you complain about his use of Kyiv in his opening, “Tensions have rapidly increased in Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny.”

Dusty on February 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I wasn’t complaining. I was noting. I based my point on the fact that the city is spelled Kiev overwhelmingly in English publications.

I personally have no preference in this fight.

Shy Guy on February 27, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Sudetenland for the Students!
Obowmao: “I hold in my hand an agreement signed by Herr Putin … peace in our time.”
For Ukrainians? … not so much.

So now that a bunch of Putin’s Punks have taken over the government buildings in the Crimea what are they going to do with them? Send them back to Moscow brick by brick?

John F’ing Kerry will probably plant a shrub or something in protest.

Missilengr on February 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Yanukovych addresses the nation still as legitimate president

“Now it becomes obvious that the people in the south-east of Ukraine and in the Crimea do not accept anarchy and lawlessness in the country, when it is a crowd of people on squares that elects the heads of ministries. I, as the current president, did not allow Ukrainian armed forces to intervene in political events. I thereby order it now as well. Should anyone give such an order to the Armed Forces and security agencies, such orders shall be considered illegal and criminal,” Viktor Yanukovych said in a statement.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 1:03 PM

From the Guardian (scroll down):

NATO’s top military commander played down tension with Russia over Ukraine on Thursday, saying the Western military alliance had made no plans to respond to any Russian intervention in Crimea and appealing for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

In other words there will be no military response to whatever Putin wants to do.

Kaffa on February 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

If anything the Russians want from the breakup of Ukraine it will be the Crimea region.

SC.Charlie on February 27, 2014 at 1:38 PM

The Ukrainians needs to give independence immediately to the Russian dominant areas to avoid giving Russia any pretense on which invade the rest of the country. Seriously, Czechoslovakia broke up, and the Czechs and Slovaks had far less reason to do it.

thuja on February 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

And if Turkey goes sideways and leaves/pushed from NATO? This is where choom boy can really step on his member. How many wars started in this region that Europe and Russia dived in on? And we have John Kerry on it. Think of the myriad ways this pooch can be screwed.

Cliff by the Ford on February 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

I find it fascinating that we trust the same liberal media, that spouts lies about us everyday in this country, to deliver an accurate picture of the situation in the Ukraine.

Not trusting: the watchword is “Cite, but verify”. Therefore, thanks to all the HotAirians who are passing along their research and personal experiences.

People who call themselves constitutionalists cheering on a mob simply doesnt seem right.

Valkyriepundit on February 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Well,

There are constitutions, and then there are constitutions.

When a constitution is (1) deficient in protection of natural rights, or (2) suspended to subvert natural rights, or (3) pays homage to natural rights but is ignored completely — then constitutionalists have no dog in the fight, and are free to cheer on what-so-ever mob they choose.

The “mob” led by George Washington, for instance, in asserting their rights as English citizens, was motivated by a desire to return to being governed by the principles of the British “constitution” which had been subverted by the monarch and parliament (and local authorities).

The “mob” in Ukraine appears to be motivated by a desire NOT to return to the principles of Russian governance.

Unfortunately, there is so far no George Washington leading the Ukraine citizens, nor any council remotely approximating the American Continental Congress. The recently appointed government is clearly a compromise of contending factions pulling against each other, and does not appear to include a preponderance of persons dedicated to implementing life under a natural-rights constitution with a minimum of corruption.

We won’t know which mob won until the party is over; after which, we can debate constitutions again.

AesopFan on February 27, 2014 at 3:49 PM