Breaking: Russian fleet delivers ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender … or else

posted at 10:35 am on March 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

At least that’s what Sky News is reporting based on reports from Interfax, although there hasn’t been any other headlines on this yet (Huffington Post UK also has this, but it appears to be from the same source) (Update: BBC also now reporting ultimatum). Ukrainian forces in Crimea have not opened hostilities on Russian occupiers, but they have also refused to surrender their bases on the peninsula. The Russian navy sent an ultimatum for a surrender, or “a real assault” will commence shortly:

The ultimatum, from the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Alexander Vitko, has a base in Crimea where Russian forces are now in control.

According to the agency, it reads: “If they do not surrender before 5am (3am GMT) tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea.”

The Russians must be surprised that Ukraine has not fought back yet — and a little frustrated, too. In 2008, Vladimir Putin baited Georgia president Mikhail Saakashvili into military action as two provinces with large ethnic-Russian populations threatened to break away. Russia invaded Georgia on that pretext, and still control South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The new leaders of Ukraine clearly have Georgia on their mind as they insist that their mobilization is not intended for anything but defense of ground already controlled by Ukraine, and not a liberation of Crimea. Instead, they want the West to come to their aid politically and economically, rather than militarily:

ABC Entertainment News | ABC Business News

Over the past few days, highly-organized and heavily-armed troops believed to be Russians – but bearing no identifying patches – have encircled Ukrainian bases, demanding they surrender.

The deputy commander of a naval operations base in the Crimean capital Simferopol told ABC News on Sunday that Russian forces had twice asked he and his men to leave but so far they have refused. His orders were to stand firm, he said, adding that they have weapons and are ready to fight.

But there have been no clashes so far, Russia managing to take control of Crimea without firing a shot. The airports, parliament and other government buildings are under the control of the militias.

So far, Ukraine’s new government and the West have appeared powerless to counter Russia’s tactics. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk insisted that Crimea remains Ukrainian territory despite the presence of Russian military.

“Any attempt of Russia to grab Crimea will have no success at all. Give us some time,” he said at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is visiting Kiev.

“For today, no military options (are) on the table,” he said, adding that what they urgently need is an economic and political support.

The military option may be what’s on Russia’s table, though. They seem to be itching for a fight as a pretext for wider action, and are probably eyeballing eastern Ukraine as well. Ukraine’s full mobilization will only hold off Russia for a short time, and Yatsenyuk clearly wants to prevent Russia from seizing any more ground by improving readiness but remaining as still as possible otherwise.

It’s difficult to see how this ends well. Russia’s invasion of Crimea was based on a non-existent pretext of oppression of ethnic Russians, so it’s unclear that they’ll simply stall for a real provocation. At some point, they’ll just make one up. Still, this is really Yatsenyuk’s only play, especially since he’s not going to get military assistance from Europe.

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Romans 1:5 “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

Christians want to serve God not created things.

davidk on March 3, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Putin won’t back down showing weakness so you are probably right that they wil make something up. After all he is protecting the Russian speaking crowd.

plutorocks on March 3, 2014 at 10:43 AM
…and in fact he protects them better than obama protects the good Iraquis from the terrorists and the good Afghanis from the Taliban.

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Along with not protecting his own ambassador he sent into a hole in the wall compound ripe for destruction. It’s a undeniable trait.

plutorocks on March 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Wrong thread–too many tabs open.

davidk on March 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Dangit! It’s almost March Madness and Obama needs time to fill out his brackets. How racist of Putin to invade Crimea during March Madness!

OxyCon on March 3, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Sky news confirming Chinese support for Putin.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I think you mean ‘Sky news report says Russia claims Chinese are supporting the invasion, but provides zero information to back it up’

DarkCurrent on March 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

I get the feeling that Putin is willing to move into the eastern Ukraine but REALLY doesn’t want to. I suspect he wants to use pressure and time to break the Kiev regime without too much bloodshed.

sharrukin on March 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Based on Putin’s history, I suspect he doesn’t feel happy unless he has some fresh blood on his hands. But as you suggest, maybe he doesn’t want “too much bloodshed”, although I don’t know where he would draw the line as long as the blood is poured out by Ukrainian military forces.

He wants them weak, and killing a few thousand will help him attain that goal, along with the intimidation factor for now and the future, in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Plus the added bonus of fresh blood on his hands.

s1im on March 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

DarkCurrent on March 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Maybe I should repost that in the correct thread…

DarkCurrent on March 3, 2014 at 1:53 PM

They’re going to wait 3 days to have an “emergency meeting”.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Wouldn’t want to rush Putin. They figure that if they wait a while, maybe it’ll all be over and they won’t have to actually do anything other than the usual obligatory hand-wringing and sternly-worded letters. And maybe Happy Hours start earlier on Thursdays in Belgium.

When seconds count, the EU is only minutes away…

bofh on March 3, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Based on Putin’s history, I suspect he doesn’t feel happy unless he has some fresh blood on his hands.

s1im on March 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

When Putin kills he kills for a reason. He is not a wild actor. He is about as cold-blooded as they come.

sharrukin on March 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Ukraine better start fighting because the Russians are not going to back down.

She Walks In Beauty on March 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Based on Putin’s history, I suspect he doesn’t feel happy unless he has some fresh blood on his hands.

s1im on March 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I don’t believe anyone has died yet. Putin took Crimea without a shot being fired. That could change at any time, but it doesn’t sound too blood thirsty to me.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 2:11 PM

VorDaj on March 3, 2014 at 1:35 PM

The incredible stupidity is strong with this one.

Federati on March 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

You better hope he’s wrong. But I thing he’s not.

Marxist overthrows are always violent.

davidk on March 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM


davidk on March 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Of course it’s early in the game but what strikes me as singular is the total lack of Ukrainian opposition to the military invasion of their country– meaning either that they agree with it or are so incompetent they deserve to be conquered,

Several factors are probably at play here which allows Putin a free hand and probably are the ‘casus belli’- including a totally corrupt Ukrainian Government; an emasculated, decadent, socialized Western Europe and Clueless in the White House.Because of this ,Putin is a veritable King Kong who can do as he wishes. A kind of victory lap for winning the most medals at the Winter Olympics.

But, as I said elsewhere, if Putin eventually places Ukraine (and maybe Belarus, etc) back into the “Empire”, he will have inherited the same malcontents who led to the Soviet Union’s demise. Kind of like eating poisoned borscht.

MaiDee on March 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Of course it’s early in the game but what strikes me as singular is the total lack of Ukrainian opposition to the military invasion of their country– meaning either that they agree with it or are so incompetent they deserve to be conquered, …. MaiDee

They just finished a political civil war, the reins have not fully passed.

As for the solution I have an easy one:

Invite Ukraine into NATO in exactly two weeks. Announce today that you are doing so.

Two weeks is critical, since there is maneuvering to do.

1) Do not directly talk to Putin or have ‘high level talks’. No talking means he knows it is real.

2) Low level ‘conversations’ can commence to say to effect that the whole NATO thing hinges upon how fast Putin withdraws. Hint that he can have observers while French troops monitor to prevent his causi-belli of “Russians in danger”.

3) It gives Putin time to think of how the hell he will backstep from this event while saving face.

Ukraine, if gunfire happens, will be desperate to sign, as otherwise they know their fate. It will be a Stalin period again and they know it. So Ukraine is in for it. Later Ukraine can ‘ask’ whenever Russia threatens oil or gas shut-offs. Gives them economic leverage.

The EU gains because they would be seen as preventing a war without firing a shot. Their generals can act pompous and glorious and their talking heads can congratulate themselves on how well they ‘averted a crisis’ (and distract from their financial woes and inept managing of those!!!).

The US would see Barack being seen (sadly) as a Statesman with skills to make the bear bow. This would not be a small thing with how our media would react. But we would see a true war stopped and we can congratulate ourselves even if did help the Obama that we will never truly support or love. Ukraine would also know it was not Barack who did that but instead save their love for us when we come into power.

OregonPolitician on March 3, 2014 at 6:11 PM

*********************** TIME IS UP ********************************!!!!

KyivPost [email protected] 5h

March 4 at 5 a.m.: Ukraine’s deadline for surrender or more psychological Kremlin warfare? #Ukraine #kyivpost #Russia

Current Time:

5:04 AM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (EET)
Time in Kiev, Kyiv city, Ukraine

canopfor on March 3, 2014 at 10:09 PM