Putin issues declaration recognizing independent Crimea

posted at 4:41 pm on March 17, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

As Brit Hume acidly observed, those sanctions applied this morning didn’t do much to deter Vladimir Putin. Just a few hours after both the US and EU imposed sanctions on several Russian and Ukrainian political figures over the occupation of Crimea, Putin issued a declaration recognizing the province’s independence:

Russian President Vladi­mir Putin formally recognized Crimea as an independent state Monday, defying new U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russian and Ukrainian officials, including some of his top aides, in response to Moscow’s moves to take over the region.

A statement posted Monday evening on the Kremlin Web site said Putin signed an order recognizing Crimea’s independence, effective immediately. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly Sunday to secede from Ukraine, a first step toward what pro-Russian leaders in the autonomous region hope will become accession to the Russian Federation.

“Given the declaration of will by the Crimean people in a nationwide referendum held on March 16, 2014, the Russian Federation is to recognize the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign and independent state, whose city of Sevastopol has a special status,” the Kremlin statement said. Sevastopol, Crimea’s main port, hosts the principal base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The reference to it as a city with a special status means that Russia considers it a separate administrative unit.

The Post’s reporters add a cautious note:

The recognition of independence does not automatically mean that Russia will annex the peninsula, although it could be a step in that direction, analysts said. Russia also recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away from the republic of Georgia in 2008, but never absorbed them as a part of the Russian Federation although it supports them financially.

That’s true, but it’s probably not a completely analogous situation, either. The Crimean peninsula has considerable strategic value to the Russian military, which isn’t really all that true of the breakaway Georgia provinces. Plus, annexing those two provinces would reignite the Georgia conflict all over again, while the Ukraine situation is about as bad as it’s going to get.

Assuming, of course, that Russia doesn’t cross over the eastern border of Ukraine next.  And that is a very large assumption, given the levels of unrest in those Russophile areas:

With reports of Russian military amassing on the country’s western border with Ukraine, fears that the Kremlin could move into the east have grown. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, reserved the right to deploy throughout the country in war powers he sought from Russian lawmakers late last month. And early Friday, the Russian foreign ministry issued a harsh statement and flipped Thursday night’s events on their head, claiming that the fatal attack — the first in this city — had been initiated by “right-wing groups” against a peaceful pro-Russia side. The statement concluded with a warning: “Russia is aware of its responsibility for the lives of compatriots and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the right to take people under its protection.”

As in much of Ukraine’s east, there are close ties to Russia here — in language, in culture, in business and in extended family. The fear is that Russia will use the same pretext to send in troops — that of protecting the locals said to self-identify with it — as it did in invading Crimea.

The fears extend beyond Russia and Ukraine. A senior diplomat based in the region for a NATO power said he believed Russia could stir tensions or send troops into eastern Ukraine if the crisis continued much longer. “It’s not a chess game — it’s more like a game of chicken,” the diplomat said. “Both sides are trying to pressure each other into stepping back.”

So far, Ukrainian officials in the eastern part of the country remain optimistic, despite having government building in Donetsk seized by pro-Russian demonstrators. Newly-appointed governor Serhiy Taruta doesn’t think that a Russian intervention would be very popular in the area, even though people in his region tend to prefer Russian ties to those with the West:

Angelina Kariakina, Euronews: “What is currently happening in the Donets Basin region? How strong is the public desire for a referendum or even for joining Russia?”

Serhiy Taruta, Governor of Donetsk region: “That is rhetoric that is being used to destabilise things here. I understand that scenario was made up for Crimea. The strongest part of Crimea’s scenario was ‘we must vote on rejoining Russia’. But this is not something the Donets Basin needs. People here do want more autonomy, they want power decentralised. The Party of Regions and President Yanukovych gained lots of support exactly because they promised decentralisation. He promised lots of other things but unfortunately didn’t deliver. People here wish to make their prosperity with their own hands. That is obvious, and, I believe, right. But we should act within the law. The law says that holding a referendum is decided at state level.”

euronews: “Do you believe that Russia could intervene in eastern and southern Ukraine?”

Taruta: “I don’t believe in such a scenario. I believe in common sense. This is not Crimea. More than nine out of ten local people realise that any intervention is really dangerous and will destabilise life in the region. It will lead to a long-term conflict. I believe the Russian side realises this as well. I also believe that suggesting scenarios of this sort is a kind of psychological attack on people, to provoke them. I don’t see a threat, but the information I have tells me we can protect our region.”

Let’s hope Taruta is correct, because so far the West isn’t convincing Putin to slow down, let alone stop.


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And Rand and Ron Paul will be on the welcome list.

rlwo2008 on March 17, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Who knows, maybe they’ll follow into Snowden’s steps and get a summer residency there… Odessa or so :)

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 7:44 PM

residence that is…

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Ukraine Liveblog Day 28: The Day After the Referendum

March 17, 2014
**************

http://www.interpretermag.com/ukraine-liveblog-day-28-the-day-after-the-referendum/#2054

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Retweeted by NATOSource
RT ‏@RT_com 21m

#Canada introduces additional sanctions following the Crimean referendum http://on.rt.com/xhz2zu

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:34 PM

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Did your MOS involve predicting future political realities?

yes, to a point. dealt with military intelligence a lot and tracked incursions.

No, I mean, were you prognosticating political developments? Thanks for your thoughtful response, but it doesn’t seem that you were. If you were, great, but you haven’t explicitly stated that.

Were Russia to invade Europe tomorrow, I mean balls out Katie bar the door invade, their forces would confront the combined might of twenty-eight armies fighting for their lives. Forgetting nukes, Russia wouldn’t have a chance. Logistics are a hometown concession.

Putin knows that he has about gone as far as he can. He’ll bask in this glory forever, he got Crimea back, ain’t he great? Why ruin it by leaving his tit in a European ringer forever?

Chill people!

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 7:53 PM

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Maybe you should keep them in Canada so you can hold onto Quebec, ay?

slickwillie2001 on March 17, 2014 at 6:56 PM

slickwillie2001:D*mn,..Separatists QuebecWaaaaaaa’s:)

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:55 PM

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/17/russia-will-sanction-u-s-officials.html

He’d be honored to be on the executive bathroom list at the senior center.

Walter L. Newton on March 17, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Wlater L. Newton: Oops, I didn’t see your posty:)

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Please draw us up a plan of battle for dislodging Russia from Crimea. Funny thing is, I keep asking, and dopes keep calling names and all – but they never present their battle plans.

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 6:55 PM

As I said yesterday, for me anyway, this really isn’t about the Crimea or the Ukraine. Further, it isn’t about whether Putin stays in the Crimea forever. I wouldn’t send one soldier to help either the ethnic Russians in the Crimea or the Ukrainians. Sorry, but they just aren’t worth it.

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 5:00 PM

At’ll show em!

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Akzed: Yups, tell me about it:)

canopfor on March 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 7:53 PM

we ran paper based simulations using scenarios if russia did this then what would we (our leaders) do, stuff like that.
nowheres near policy level simulations though but our outcomes tended to match pretty closely to what our command implemented as procedures.

Were Russia to invade Europe tomorrow, I mean balls out Katie bar the door invade, their forces would confront the combined might of twenty-eight armies fighting for their lives. Forgetting nukes, Russia wouldn’t have a chance. Logistics are a hometown concession.

as late as 2000 I would agree with you,, now I am not so sure and thats what bugs me.
those 28 armies based so much of their doctrine on defense of their lands only while ceding strategic command (attacking back) to US forces. the forces that are no longer there.
we’ve babysat them into a dangerous position.
we’re war weary, overtaxed asset wise, and broke.
we need to pay attn to his actions and also what he doesn’t do. we cannot afford to be lackadaisical or assume anything here.

dmacleo on March 17, 2014 at 8:04 PM

Were Russia to invade Europe tomorrow, I mean balls out Katie bar the door invade, their forces would confront the combined might of twenty-eight armies fighting for their lives. Forgetting nukes, Russia wouldn’t have a chance. Logistics are a hometown concession.

I’m not sure that “might” is the right word to describe the EU forces. Outside of the UK and France there isn’t much there.

Even with UK and France I think it would be an even fight at best and without US backing the fight would be over quickly – remember that the EU didn’t have enough material to sustain the bombing campaign against Libya, they had to rely on us.

kcewa on March 17, 2014 at 8:11 PM

remember that the EU didn’t have enough material to sustain the bombing campaign against Libya, they had to rely on us.

kcewa on March 17, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Indeed. The UK ran out of its Tomahawk missiles in 3 days. It is debatable whether Britain could even defend the Falkland Islands now.

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Even with UK and France I think it would be an even fight at best and without US backing the fight would be over quickly – remember that the EU didn’t have enough material to sustain the bombing campaign against Libya, they had to rely on us.

kcewa on March 17, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Relying on us is a bad bet these days. Our affirmative action president only looks out for himself.

Kaffa on March 17, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Even with UK and France I think it would be an even fight at best and without US backing the fight would be over quickly – remember that the EU didn’t have enough material to sustain the bombing campaign against Libya, they had to rely on us.

kcewa on March 17, 2014 at 8:11 PM

And stuff like this is not exactly reassuring either: Britain will lose nuclear capability for 20 years if Scotland votes for independence

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 8:37 PM

And stuff like this is not exactly reassuring either: Britain will lose nuclear capability for 20 years if Scotland votes for independence

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 8:37 PM

True, but the Scots are crazy if they vote for independence. The country is a net tax transfer beneficiary meaning that it receives more than it pays. Southeast England has been the predominant source of its funding for generations. Also, they will lose the pound and the Bank of England if they become independent. And, Salmond recently received quite the shock from Juan Miguel Barraso, the President of the European Commission. Salmond has been telling the Scots that they could keep the pound and the BofE. When both were shot down, he claimed that it was no biggie because an independent Scotland would be fast-tracked into the EU and could easily adopt the euro. Well, you can imagine the shock when Barraso said that it would be ‘extremely difficult’ for an independent Scotland to join the EU and, even if it were permitted, the process would not be fast-tracked and could take two decades. The EU member states aren’t too keen on granting membership to breakaway territories. If they allow Scotland, then what about Catalonia? Basque? Venice? Flanders? Castile? Corsica?

Yes, they have North Sea oil, but they do not exclusively own the rights to the depleting reserves, and they would be given their share of the UK debt. Many believe that Salmond’s intention is to sell a lot of oil reserves, but then what? What happens when they run through that money?

Believe it or not (and it is actually true according to the World Health Organisation), there are areas of Glasgow where a baby boy born today will have a shorter life expectancy than one born in India or the Philippines and die a full 28 years earlier than a boy born elsewhere in the UK.

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Well, you can imagine the shock when Barraso said that it would be ‘extremely difficult’ for an independent Scotland to join the EU and, even if it were permitted, the process would not be fast-tracked and could take two decades. The EU member states aren’t too keen on granting membership to breakaway territories. If they allow Scotland, then what about Catalonia? Basque? Venice? Flanders? Castile? Corsica?

I wouldnt take the eurocrats words for it. To weaken and disolve national sovereignty is the very reason the EU exists and they would be especially happy about weakening the UK, since Britain is the EU member that is most hostile to the idea of an ever more integrated Union.

Valkyriepundit on March 17, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Impressive to see a nation adding to its territory. The US has spent upteen trillion dollars and not gained a square inch in over a century.

cimbri on March 17, 2014 at 11:14 PM

True, but the Scots are crazy if they vote for independence. The country is a net tax transfer beneficiary meaning that it receives more than it pays. Southeast England has been the predominant source of its funding for generations.
Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 9:06 PM

I hear the same arguments about blue states subsidizing the South. What’s missing in that analysis, is that Southerners send most of their investment money through NYC, netting NY and surrounding areas staggering amounts of money. I’m suspecting the same thing is going on over there, since London is the financial sector.

If it was just about money, there never would have been a US. The Scots should declare independence.

cimbri on March 17, 2014 at 11:26 PM

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 9:06 PM

I could ‘t agree more, I know they only benefit currently from being part of the UK, personally I see 0 reason why they would want to secede unless they are really beyond misguided and far gone in surreal political territory, but then there are so few sane actors left in europe (if you count them as individual countries, separate from the EU’s general insanity) that it almost hurts…and makes one wonder too..

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Impressive to see a nation adding to its territory. The US has spent upteen trillion dollars and not gained a square inch in over a century.

cimbri on March 17, 2014 at 11:14 PM

Lol :) true…yet we are the ‘evil power’ hated by every political entity/actor and humanoid on this planet, from europe, to middle east, from south east asia to the caucasus and beyond….while a cynical thug like Putin is hailed as a ‘tough, determined leader’….it’s as if all rationality has deserted the human race really….

jimver on March 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM

If it was just about money, there never would have been a US. The Scots should declare independence.

cimbri on March 17, 2014 at 11:26 PM

No they shouldn’t.

Mass non-white immigration into all white countries and only white countries plus forced assimilation means a future without white people. That’s genocide.

The “Scottish nationalist” opposition is more in favor of that than England is. That means “independent” Scotland would rapidly cease to be Scotland.

An “independent Scotland” is simply not possible. You cannot be independent if you don’t exist.

What would be useful would be if British people would unite to say the country is theirs and no more immigrants are wanted.

Stirring up divisions between the Scots and other components of Great Britain is completely unhelpful.

David Blue on March 18, 2014 at 12:03 AM

Yup. As independent as Camp Pendleton.

WryTrvllr on March 18, 2014 at 12:32 AM

Did Putin’s Russia ever lay claim over East Europe, over Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia? No. Russia dissolved the iron curtain and let the EU take them all without a hint of a fight.

Even while the EU acted as an enemy, Russia did nothing to repay their due. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when EU sabotaged a legitimate government on the very front door of Russia, trying to make it it’s another bailout vassal. Ukraine is no Poland. Ukraine was under Russian rule for hundreds of years, and Crimea is Russia proper. If Russia starts paying states within the Union to cecede, won’t you be furious about it?

Masih ad-Dajjal on March 18, 2014 at 7:39 AM

At this point, any strong government in Russia is bound to react, as Putin did.

David Blue on March 18, 2014 at 7:51 AM

This is clear: Russian will annex Crimea under a false pretext and their land grab won’t stop there.

The new White House meme seems to be suggesting this will be a contained action for which Russia will pay a substantial price. That thought is almost as foolish as the policies which led to this crisis in the first place.

What is absolutely clear is this: the foreign policy of people such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama makes us less safe. It is based on unrealistic assumptions, utopian thoughts and unachievable ends. It is largely steeped in domestic politics, under-girded by sonorous speeches and cheer-leaded by a supportive media.

We’ve watched in amazement as our allies have been abandoned, our nuclear deterrent has been eroded and our armed forces are being dismantled and thrown into social turmoil. During this time, Democrats and their supporters have tried to tell us this this some type of sage, new worldview in which America becomes just another global player and less exceptional.

But what has been done, the clear outcome, is to make us less safe by destabilizing the entire globe.

Marcus Traianus on March 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Obama and Putin are similar in that they are both bullies.

They are dissimilar in that Obama only bullies his own citizens.

Obama is a wimp among bullies.

A bottom-feeder.

Sherman1864 on March 18, 2014 at 8:24 PM

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