Ukraine naval base in Crimea stormed by “pro-Russian activists”

posted at 8:41 am on March 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Ahem, excuse me … armed pro-Russian “activists,” according to the BBC. Just hours after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, the Ukrainian naval base came under attack, and the chief of their navy is reportedly a prisoner of these “activists”:

Pro-Russian activists, some armed, have stormed the HQ of Ukraine’s navy in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

Several Ukrainian servicemen have left, the Russia flag is flying and there are reports that Ukrainian navy chief Serhiy Hayduk has been detained.

Reuters offered a more realistic report, noting that the armed “activists” were actually Russian soldiers, accompanied by civilians that have organized themselves into “self-defense” units in support of Russian sovereignty over the peninsula. The Ukrainian military also took a more realistic position, retreating from the bases that they could not possibly relieve against the Russian forces:

Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine’s naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Wednesday and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow’s intent to neutralize any armed opposition.

Russian soldiers, and so-called “self-defense” units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control.

Shortly after the incident, Ukraine’s acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in Kiev that the country’s forces would not withdraw from Crimea even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make it part of Russia.

But an hour later, Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothing, began walking out of the headquarters.

Thus far, no further reports of violence or gunfire have occurred since the initial clash resulted in the shooting death of a Ukrainian soldier. However, that kind of luck probably won’t continue. Kyiv refuses to recognize Crimean independence and its rapid annexation by Russia shortly afterward and won’t agree to withdraw its military from those bases. The new Crimean regime will not allow Kyiv’s envoys to land at the airport, let alone discuss a resolution to this standoff. This scene will likely repeat itself numerous times over the next few days, and it would be miraculous if gunfire didn’t erupt at some point and start a shooting war in Crimea.

Meanwhile, the West still has not settled on a response to Russia. UK Prime Minister David Cameron finally suggested kicking Russia out of the G-8 permanently, nearly three weeks after its initial incursions into Crimea:

Congress has still stalled on helping the Ukrainians:

While lawmakers bicker over the details of legislation to aid Ukraine and punish Russia, events in Eastern Europe are moving quickly. Just this week, citizens in the disputed Crimean peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and were swiftly recognized by Russia. President Barack Obama and European leaders, meanwhile, instituted targeted sanctions on Russian officials and “cronies,” prompting Russia to consider retaliatory action against the West.

And what is Capitol Hill doing to respond to the deepening crisis? Not much, except continue a war of words with Russia and leave town for a weeklong recess without a bill to send to Obama’s desk. And there’s no sign that Congress will resolve its differences anytime soon — despite growing alarm about developments in Ukraine. …

The House has passed a bill that provides loan guarantees to Ukraine, legislation the Senate says falls short of helping U.S. allies and punishing Russia. But the Senate’s more comprehensive effort is running into its own obstacles.

The 32-page bill that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week faces steep resistance in the House. And a push to swiftly pass it in the Senate before recess triggered an ugly floor spat among Republicans.

The Senate proposal not only provides the loan assistance to the new government in Kiev, but calls for blocking assets and revoking visas of officials responsible for the crisis. It also includes reforms to the International Monetary Fund that would shift $63 billion from the IMF’s crisis account to its general fund, a provision that conservatives oppose.

Republicans have offered a trade to delay proposed IRS rules cracking down on the political activities for nonprofits in exchange for the IMF reform, but Democrats say they won’t go for it. The bill could be amended on the floor if both parties can agree on a list of alterations to consider, but IMF changes and the IRS rules delay likely won’t be a part of it.

Washington finally called Vladimir Putin a liar for his speech yesterday rationalizing the Crimean referendum and the annexation, but … it was the Washington Post, not Washington DC. Glenn Kessler gave Putin four Pinocchios for the speech. Good to see the West getting tough on Putin.

But will getting tough on Putin actually make much of a difference? Michael Totten offers a pessimistic view:

That’s not one, not two, but three times Russia has pulled this stunt since the end of the Cold War. Putin is doing it to Ukraine because it worked in Moldova and Georgia.

There is no exit plan. Russia is not going to pull out of these countries, nor will anyone force Russia out. It’s not worth a world war—not even close.

That’s where we are. Where to next? Well, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova could cede the scraps to Russia and join NATO as rump states, if NATO will have them. There’s not much else they can do. Because protesting and sanctions and diplomatic hand-wringing will have no affect whatsoever.

It’s a little late to reverse what has already transpired, but perhaps not too late to prevent Putin from trying this again. Sanctions could hit Putin in his weak spot — with the oligarchs who got rich from hooking their wagons to his star, and who might prefer not becoming poor again.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Reuters offered a more realistic report, noting that the armed “activists” were actually Russian soldiers,

No! Who could’ve seen that coming? Next step, pro-Russian activists in Ukraine fomenting Benghazi-style spontaneous protests to give Putin an excuse to expand his grip to critical infrastucture.

But hey, how far did Wichita State get in Obama’s bracket picks?

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Community organizing, Moscow style.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Nation building Community organizing, Moscow style.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 8:48 AM

FIFY. Putin’s getting the band back together one piece at a time.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:49 AM

It’s a little late to reverse what has already transpired, but perhaps not too late to prevent Putin from trying this again. Sanctions could hit Putin in his weak spot — with the oligarchs who got rich from hooking their wagons to his star, and who might prefer not becoming poor again.

Late only because of the filthy rat-eared bastard’s fecklessness, along with Killary’s gross incompetence. The 1980s called and they’re laughing their asses off at these idiots.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:51 AM

But an hour later, Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothing, began walking out of the headquarters.

Are the Ukrainian armed forces even armed? Every time I’ve seen them “confronting” the Russian invaders they look like they’re doing a peace march.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 8:52 AM

BBC – Useful idiots for enemies of the West since 1945.

Next we’ll hear that Ukrainian forces have attacked a radio tower inside Russian territory.

Norwegian on March 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Are the Ukrainian armed forces even armed? Every time I’ve seen them “confronting” the Russian invaders they look like they’re doing a peace march.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 8:52 AM

They’ve been instructed not to engage in armed confrontation. There would be no upside for that, especially since the West are pretty much ceding Crimea to Putin because they are unwilling to challenge Russia.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

I could see ACORN and OFA “activists” doing the same thing in military bases in America.
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” -BHO

Glenn Jericho on March 19, 2014 at 8:56 AM

part of crimeria so not at all unexpected.
I have not had a chance to look, any other ukraine military installations in crimeria?

dmacleo on March 19, 2014 at 8:56 AM

part of crimeria so not at all unexpected.
I have not had a chance to look, any other ukraine military installations in crimeria?

dmacleo on March 19, 2014 at 8:56 AM

The port was the ultimate objective.

hawkdriver on March 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Who would have seen that coming?

Philly on March 19, 2014 at 9:06 AM

OT-

Maldives ‘witnesses’ report seeing ‘low flying jet’ on morning that MH370 disappeared, as the search becomes the longest in modern aviation history

What the hell? Why would MH370 be off the coast of Argentina? Nobody is going to be madder than Obama when he reads that everybody has been searching in the wrong hemisphere.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Oh, Dear Leader is gonna be maaaaaaad!

NavyMustang on March 19, 2014 at 9:08 AM

What the hell? Why would MH370 be off the coast of Argentina? Nobody is going to be madder than Obama when he reads that everybody has been searching in the wrong hemisphere.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:07 AM

They moved the island Jack!

Walter L. Newton on March 19, 2014 at 9:08 AM

hawkdriver on March 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

thats been my feeling too, but I seem to remember (and EASILY could be wrong) there may have been another base (land forces) in crimeria.

dmacleo on March 19, 2014 at 9:09 AM

BTW, everybody really needs to see the video where the rat-eared wonder and his magic pen picks his NCAA Tournament brackets. If only the lazy stupid bastard applied the level of analysis and detail to stuff that matters that he does to a college sport.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

They’ve been instructed not to engage in armed confrontation. There would be no upside for that, especially since the West are pretty much ceding Crimea to Putin because they are unwilling to challenge Russia.
Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

I can’t see what an unarmed army would be good for other than having some really fine Jamborees and taking surrender lessons from the French.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

They moved the island Jack!

Walter L. Newton on March 19, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Without causing it to tip over?

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I can’t see what an unarmed army would be good for other than having some really fine Jamborees and taking surrender lessons from the French.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

You need to keep in mind that, for all practical purposes, the Ukrainian military in Crimea is now on foreign soil.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:14 AM

I thought Chicago Jeebus was supposed to have this all fixed by now…

workingclass artist on March 19, 2014 at 9:16 AM

In related news, Japanese flying enthusiasts, some with bombs, form a flash mob over Pearl Harbor and demonstrate their acrobatic skills.

Axe on March 19, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I thought Chicago Jeebus was supposed to have this all fixed by now…

workingclass artist on March 19, 2014 at 9:16 AM

He sent Joe Biden to Poland and Lithuania. What can possibly go wrong? Besides, what difference at this point does it make? Done deal. Putin’s not invited to a cocktail party next week but that’s about the extent of what the West will do.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:20 AM

FIFY. Putin’s getting the band back together one piece at a time.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 8:49 AM

He’s on a mission from Gad. :)

Axe on March 19, 2014 at 9:22 AM

He sent Joe Biden to Poland and Lithuania. What can possibly go wrong? Besides, what difference at this point does it make? Done deal. Putin’s not invited to a cocktail party next week but that’s about the extent of what the West will do.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Er… Biden asks a waiter if they serve Polish sausage?

Walter L. Newton on March 19, 2014 at 9:22 AM

You need to keep in mind that, for all practical purposes, the Ukrainian military in Crimea is now on foreign soil.
Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Not exactly Alamo material, the Ukrainians.

whatcat on March 19, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Putin will not fight NATO if NATO puts troops in Ukraine. Not now anyway. Je will lose and he knows it. But in 5 or 10 years, as he builds his military and Obama cuts ours, ya, Putin will not hesitate to fight NATO because he would win.

Banshee Leader on March 19, 2014 at 9:26 AM

How much in the way of arms does a non-uniformed Spetsnaz guy need? Oh yeah, I went there.

Sekhmet on March 19, 2014 at 9:28 AM

I was worried that Putin was getting away with this, but then I saw we called him a liar, and he got 4 Pinnochios. Phew- crisis averted!

Right now Obama and our foreign policy gurus remind me of Dr. Cocteau and Associate Bob in “Demolition Man.” Remember that Stallone flick with Wesley Snipes tearing up San Angleles after escaping cryoprison? The civic leaders and police chief were too busy having “joy joy” feelings about their clean and happy city to be even remotely prepared for real problems.

Be well!!

ImmigrantsWife on March 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

I was worried that Putin was getting away with this, but then I saw we called him a liar, and he got 4 Pinnochios. Phew- crisis averted!

ImmigrantsWife on March 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Glen Kessler is a despicable weasel who loves propping up Obama including in his feckless foreign policy. Putin got 4 Pinnochios only for the parts of his speech dealing with Crimea. I’m sure that any challenge that Obama is flat out a lazy stupid appeaser would cause Kessler to jump in and find common ground between Putin’s world view and that of the rat-eared wonder…. no Pinnochios to the idea that Obama should devote as much time, attention, and analysis to foreign affairs that he does to his NCAA brackets.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:40 AM

….the Middle East is all phucked up!…now!…onto the next region!

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Right now Obama and our foreign policy gurus remind me of Dr. Cocteau and Associate Bob in “Demolition Man.” Remember that Stallone flick with Wesley Snipes tearing up San Angleles after escaping cryoprison? The civic leaders and police chief were too busy having “joy joy” feelings about their clean and happy city to be even remotely prepared for real problems.

ImmigrantsWife on March 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Remember, Cocteau had Simon Phoenix (Snipes) defrosted to kill the leader of the underground, and found out too late that Phoenix had his own agenda. Which included whacking Cocteau.

The One and Hillary!! had a hands-off policy toward Putin because, as McCain said, they looked in his eyes and saw a K, a G, and a B. They were certain he would revive the sainted Soviet Union and give them a world socialist state to be a province of.

They’ve finally realized (or at least Hillary!! has- I’m not so sure about The One and JFKook) that Putin isn’t the “man on a white horse carrying the Sacred Bed Banner” they dreamed of. He’s an old-fashioned, hard-line Russian nationalist out of the Tsarist era, or even before.

For them, it’s like Vidkun Quisling in Norway pulling his 1940 coup- and finding out that Hitler didn’t care about having Norway. Or Arthur Seyss-Inquart replacing Schuschnigg and undercutting Miklas only to discover that Adolf was too busy with East Prussia to worry about Austria.

It’s a nasty shock for progressives to find that they haven’t got a true-believing Socialist Great Leader in Russia they can surrender to.

What they’ve got is a nationalist and borderline isolationist who wishes they’d just go away and stop bothering him while he’s rebuilding Catherine the Great’s empire.

What they, and we, need to worry about is exactly who- or what- will succeed the 61-year-old Putin. Especially if he manages to “get the band back together”.

BTW, the average male lifespan in Russia today is…70.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM

OT/

Thanks, guys. I won my precinct with 85% of the vote. One of the highest. (Yeah, I was unopposed but still 85% bothered to check the box for PC.)

. . . Now, off to collect the signs back up in the rain. No rest for the wicked, lol.

Fallon on March 19, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Axe on March 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a Ukrainian base in Crimea, which is no longer part of Ukraine.

There’s always the alternative open to any nation when invaded – fight like hell. When your entire military is in a shambles however, like Ukraine’s, your options are severely limited.

It’s easier to rally other nations to your side when they can see that you care enough about your country to fight an invader. When you don’t fight for what’s yours, the hyenas hear your silence as a dinner bell.

Remember how world peace was shattered when the US took away at least 2/3 of Mexico’s territory? What we now call The Southwest.

And who can forget the horrors inflicted on world peace for generations when the US divested Spain of its overseas holdings by force of arms. Because, America. The funny thing is, had the Philippines remained with Spain, there might have been no attack on Pearl Harbor. But then, what would The Military Channel have to talk about?

Akzed on March 19, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Maldives ‘witnesses’ report seeing ‘low flying jet’ on morning that MH370 disappeared, as the search becomes the longest in modern aviation history

What the hell? Why would MH370 be off the coast of Argentina? Nobody is going to be madder than Obama when he reads that everybody has been searching in the wrong hemisphere.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Argentina?!

Akzed on March 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Sorry for my ignorance, but I’ve been trying to figure out all morning what that screencap is a picture of.

CurtZHP on March 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Maldives ‘witnesses’ report seeing ‘low flying jet’ on morning that MH370 disappeared, as the search becomes the longest in modern aviation history

What the hell? Why would MH370 be off the coast of Argentina? Nobody is going to be madder than Obama when he reads that everybody has been searching in the wrong hemisphere.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Argentina?!

Akzed on March 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

“President Barack Obama managed to commit two major gaffes in a single sentence by attempting to refer to the Falkland Islands as the Malvinas while instead calling them the Maldives, which are 8,123 miles away.

Mr Obama was speaking at a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday when he was asked about ‘Cuba and the Malvinas’.”

Pless1foEngrish on March 19, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Obama is an embarrassment to the Office of the Presisdent. Hopefully we can recover in 2016. I can’t believe Hillary even has a shot after the gross negligence in Libya that resulted in the un-answered murder of an American ambassador. The empty-headed feminists that worship her are the same who label conservative women as un-informed and useless. That’s rich.

Remember, Cocteau had Simon Phoenix (Snipes) defrosted to kill the leader of the underground, and found out too late that Phoenix had his own agenda. Which included whacking Cocteau.

I know, but it’s the personalities of the smarmy and patronizing Cocteau and stupid Associate Bob just scream Obama and Biden to me. Maybe Hillary could be the police lieutenant; cluelessly busy with bad solutions to problems way over her head.

ImmigrantsWife on March 19, 2014 at 10:51 AM

We’re just missing a John Spartan.

ImmigrantsWife on March 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Ukraine naval base in Crimea stormed by “pro-Russian activists” masked unidentified Talibraghead-similar thugs.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Meanwhile, the West still has not settled on a response to Russia.

Jeff Kuhner on WRKO reported this morning that Obama sent 300 of our special forces into crimea to protect a natural gas – oil facility of some kind. I am still trying to find the specifics of this.

dogsoldier on March 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Sorry for my ignorance, but I’ve been trying to figure out all morning what that screencap is a picture of.

CurtZHP on March 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Looks like a guy climbing on a flagpole with a Russian flag.

DarkCurrent on March 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Reminds me of npr’s coverage of the Libya uprising (which may have included bbc reports) They kept calling the rebels “protesters”. It really got ridiculous when they started saying things like “The protestors seized control of several more small towns today and are now closing in on Tripoli”.

RINO in Name Only on March 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Reminds me of npr’s coverage of the Libya uprising (which may have included bbc reports) They kept calling the rebels “protesters”. It really got ridiculous when they started saying things like “The protestors seized control of several more small towns today and are now closing in on Tripoli”.

RINO in Name Only on March 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM

MSNBC called them ‘movie critics’.

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM