Open thread: Obama to make statement on Ukraine at 4:45; Update: “There will be costs”

posted at 4:38 pm on February 28, 2014 by Allahpundit

Turn on your TV. We’re about to find out what an “intervention line” is and how you cross it.

Does this qualify?

Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula, a top Ukrainian official said Friday, accusing Moscow of an “armed invasion”.

“Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one,” Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president’s special representive in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, adding the air space had been closed.

Ukraine’s ambassador told the UN this afternoon that 11 Russian military helicopters plus some unknown number of military transport planes landed in Ukraine today. Stand by for updates. While we wait, why not take a stroll down memory lane?

Update: Is this how Putin stays on the right side of the “intervention line”?

A creeping Kremlin takeover of Crimea by ostensibly local ethnic Russian forces is more likely than a military assault on all or parts of Ukraine, U.S. and European intelligence officials and analysts said…

“Moscow knows an army invasion would cause too many problems, so they’re operating just below the waterline to make it look like a bottom-up movement led by ethnic Russians,” Joerg Forbrig, a senior program officer at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., said in a phone interview. “They’re avoiding the impression of an open military intervention, but that’s what it is.”

“It would be a last resort if there are Russian casualties in Crimea,” Forbrig said. “There could also be provocations aimed at trigging a Russian intervention. Something might happen at an office, a government building, to the infrastructure or even an attack on a military memorial to create a pretext for the Kremlin to move in.”

In other words, to give the west a way to save face in acquiescing in a Russian takeover, Putin’s willing to halfheartedly stage this as some sort of domestic Crimean uprising rather than an invasion by Moscow. (The troops who took over the airports in Crimea are reportedly Russian mercenaries, not regular troops, presumably to sustain this pretense.) Then the EU and Obama can spin it as some sort of ethnic-Russian counterpart in the south to what’s been happening with the Euromaidan protesters in Kiev. Problem is, no one seriously believes it, especially with Ukrainian officials claiming that thousands of Russian troops are being flown in. O may want to play along with Putin’s charade but I don’t think he can get away with it.

Note the bit in the excerpt too about provocations. Joshua Foust made the same point:

Right. If/when some of Russia’s mercenaries are attacked by Tatars, then regular troops can enter to “protect” the ethnic Russian majority there.

Update: It’s not really an invasion until there’s a “We are all __________ians” statement from McCain. Done and done.

Update: A new sternly worded statement:

Update: I guess we’re not playing along with Putin’s “domestic uprising” pageant:

Update: Obama’s late, as usual, so here’s another page from the scrapbook:

Update: He’s “deeply concerned” and sees unspecified “costs” to come for Russia if they violate Ukraine’s sovereignty but the situation is “fluid,” which is his way of giving Putin some room to de-escalate. The one thing that did catch my attention was when he congratulated Ukraine for showing “restraint.” That’s an allusion to Foust’s point about Russia watching and waiting for a pretext to order a wider invasion. If their comparatively small force in Crimea comes under attack, a bigger force is waiting.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Not Over

Bmore on March 1, 2014 at 8:57 AM

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.
Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

gordo on March 1, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Flexibility you leftist fools. Suffocate.

Bmore on March 1, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Laughter Jones===== Yeah we should stand back and watch as more people are subjugated when we could have save them, I guess you don’t understand what the significance of the past means.

jainphx on March 1, 2014 at 12:19 AM

No, I personally understand significance of war and what that entails. Yet I see everyone rush to toss some munitions, or restart the cold war to prop up the military industry. Don’t let the ridiculousness of WW1, and incompetence of WW2 get you stuck in the mud.

And don’t be so quick to think you have a moral stance to free a subject. From what I’ve read, there are plenty of Eastern Ukrainians who still think of themselves as Russians. Bottom line, if E. Uk. gets absorbed into Russia, it means zero to you. Oblummer continues to look like the incompetent fool and the EU is once again a failure, no surprises there.

LaughterJones on March 1, 2014 at 10:15 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s upper house of parliament will ask President Vladimir Putin to recall Moscow’s ambassador from the United States, the chamber’s speaker said on Saturday.

Willys on March 1, 2014 at 11:40 AM

So ends Rand Paul’s presidential ambitions.

Zomcon JEM on March 1, 2014 at 12:07 PM

We get to see the result of 51% of the American public being utterly stupid.

If you think this stops here you are a fool. The world still runs to the beat of reality, not the beat of stupid liberal US politicians – if you voted democrat, or if you sat it out in 2012 – you own this. The world is about to get much bloodier thanks to hope-n-change.

Zomcon JEM on March 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Costs? Does this mean Obama is going to charge for blowjobs from now on?

mcgilvra on March 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Worst president ever.

justltl on March 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Obama is Putin’s bitch, for all the world to see.

2lbsTest on March 1, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Pretty sad to think that, even if Hilary were to win in 2016, the one thing that is for certain is that the next president will have more balls than the current one.

OrbeaRider66 on March 2, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Gee, you guys stepped over the red line I thought you knew about. Shame………….shame! Ok, now what do I do?

geezerintraining on March 2, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Gee, you guys stepped over the red line I thought you knew about. Shame………….shame! Ok, now what do I do?


I know! Let’s pivot to the economy and then get tough with Israel. That’ll show Vladimir!

OrbeaRider66 on March 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM