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Russia vs Ukraine: Crimean Crisis

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Orionblamblam

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It seems the Germans Russians have successfully invaded and effectively annexed the Sudetenland Crimea, without firing a shot and with little more than strongly worded letters from the West. The justification is that the Sudetenland Crimea is full of ethnic Germans Russians who support this move, and the rest of Czechoslovakia Ukraine can just go get bent.

I'm sure it will all be *fine.* What could possibly go wrong?
 

Triton

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Will Ukraine be divided into two countries?

Source:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/15/ukraine-protests-analysis-two-nations
http://fenn-o-manic.deviantart.com/art/Divided-Ukraine-388947476
 

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Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
Will Ukraine be divided into two countries?

It's a good strategy if you can pull it off. Claim "compromise" and split a country in half. Wait a while, cause a ruckus in the half you don't run, then claim that the best compromise is to cut *that* in half. And then cut *that* chunk in half. Rinse and repeat until you own all but a postage stamp.

It's how politics is done.
 

Triton

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"Does the 1994 'Budapest Memorandum' obligate the US to intervene in Ukraine?"
by Rick Moran

March 1, 2014

Source:
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/03/does_the_1994_budapest_memorandum_obligate_the_us_to_intervene_in_ukraine.html

There's been a lot of loose talk about a 1994 "treaty" that obligates the US to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine. As Financial Times reports, this is vastly overstating the reality of our agreement with Ukraine, which in no way says the US must come to Ukraine's defense militarily.

Ukraine’s new prime minister invoked 20-year-old international agreement as he appealed for western powers to help him resist Russian attempts to assert itself in the south of the country.

Arseniy Yatseniuk called upon the members of the UN Security Council to help preserve Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” hours after armed pro-Russian separatists in Crimea took over the local parliament calling for unification with Moscow. His words are a deliberate echo of the so-called Budapest Memorandum, signed as part of the deal that saw Ukraine give up its nuclear weapons in 1994.

According to the agreement, the US, UK and Russia all agreed to protect the sovereignty and “territorial agreement” of Ukraine, meaning any Russian support for an attempt to declare Crimean independence would be in violation of their international obligations.

The three powers committed to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine”.

Significantly, the wording suggests Russia’s insistence that Ukraine forgo an EU trade deal may have already breached the terms of the agreement.

The signatories agreed to “refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind”.

Western diplomats are now scouring the text to check whether they are obliged to intervene in the country to prevent it from breaking up if Russia does so first.

John Lough, associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, the foreign policy think-tank, said: “While this does not legally oblige the UK and other western powers to intervene, they might feel morally obliged to.”

He added: “Russia has already violated the spirit and letter of this agreement through the economic pressure applied to Ukraine in the run-up to the Vilnius Summit,” a reference to the November meeting when then president Viktor Yanukovich declined to sign the EU deal.

Interesting that both sides have apparently violated the agreement already, which in diplomacy usually means that the agreement would no longer be in effect.And since Russia has technically not sent in any troops thus violating Ukraine's sovereignty, there's no reason to invoke even the murky wording of the memorandum to assist Ukraine in defending its territorial integrity.

There is word that internet and telecommunications is virtually out throughout the Crimea. To attack the nodes and servers would require careful planning on the part of Russia. Clearly, Putin has had a long time to think about this move and he's being careful not to provoke the EU.

Ukraine may yet fight to maintain its territory but they won't be doing it with western help.
 

Triton

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"Don’t Panic! The Budapest Memorandum Does Not Require US and UK to Defend Ukraine"
by Julian Ku

Source:
http://opiniojuris.org/2014/02/28/russians-coming-russians-coming/

Lots of reports, including those from the new Ukrainian government at a meeting of the UN Security Council, suggest that Russian military forces have crossed into Ukraine. This has caused a mild panic on Wall Street and some typically overwrought press reporting from, just to give an example, Britain’s Daily Mail.

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if Putin’s troops intervene.

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.

Uh…no it doesn’t. At least not from my reading of it. It might be a good idea for the US to stand up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and it is true that the Budapest Memorandum commits Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (I thought Russia’s president wanted to respect international law?). The UN Charter does that anyway. The Memorandum does not in anyway obligate any country to intervene in order to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In other words, it is not a security guarantee, like the kind that the US has with Japan. It is also not a formal treaty which, at least under US law, would have more binding impact. So relax, American doves, it’s 2014, not 1914. International agreements will not lead us blindly to war (sorry, Ukraine!).
 

Abraham Gubler

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Triton said:
Will Ukraine be divided into two countries?

This is very unlikely. Even though the eastern half of Ukraine speaks Russian they still consider themselves ethnically Ukrainian. However the population of the Crimea is made up of roughly half ethnic Russian and half ethnic Tatar. The Crimea is the real flash point because apart from being occupied by many Russians it is also very important to Russia and has never had any real political connection with the Ukraine until a Soviet era neatening of their internal borders.
 

Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
"Don’t Panic! The Budapest Memorandum Does Not Require US and UK to Defend Ukraine"

Something about the glee or enthusiasm with which some people have been pointing out of late that we are not contractually obligated to come to Ukraines aid seems a bit disturbing to me. Kinda like seeing a car full of children overturned and on fire, and realizing that you are not obligated to pull them out, and celebrating as you just drive on by.

Not that there's much that could be done here anyway, but still...
 

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What would you propose the UN, NATO or USA do about the Ukrainian situation? Drop some Nukes on those pesky Russians in the Crimea? Yep, that'd really fix their problems, now wouldn't it? ::)
 

Orionblamblam

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Kadija_Man said:
What would you propose the UN, NATO or USA do about the Ukrainian situation? Drop some Nukes on those pesky Russians in the Crimea?

That's pretty much your answer for everything, isn't it. Perhaps you should try to think more creatively. Go ahead. Give it a shot. What would you do, apart from nuking them?
 

Triton

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Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
What would you propose the UN, NATO or USA do about the Ukrainian situation? Drop some Nukes on those pesky Russians in the Crimea?

That's pretty much your answer for everything, isn't it. Perhaps you should try to think more creatively. Go ahead. Give it a shot. What would you do, apart from nuking them?

If the United States and the United Kingdom do nothing it sets a precedent that treaties are not worth the paper they are printed on. In return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons to Russia and signing the Treaty on the non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation gave Ukraine security assurances:

  • Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  • Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  • Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  • Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.

I don't want a war, but the United States and the United Kingdom have to fulfill their commitments to Ukraine.
 

sferrin

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Orionblamblam said:
Triton said:
"Don’t Panic! The Budapest Memorandum Does Not Require US and UK to Defend Ukraine"

Something about the glee or enthusiasm with which some people have been pointing out of late that we are not contractually obligated to come to Ukraines aid seems a bit disturbing to me. Kinda like seeing a car full of children overturned and on fire, and realizing that you are not obligated to pull them out, and celebrating as you just drive on by.

Not that there's much that could be done here anyway, but still...

Yet another example of the gutless wonders running things these days.
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
What would you propose the UN, NATO or USA do about the Ukrainian situation? Drop some Nukes on those pesky Russians in the Crimea?

That's pretty much your answer for everything, isn't it. Perhaps you should try to think more creatively. Go ahead. Give it a shot. What would you do, apart from nuking them?

No, that is YOUR solution for everything. :eek:
 

Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
If the United States and the United Kingdom do nothing it sets a precedent that treaties are not worth the paper they are printed on.

That precedent has *long* since been set, many times. For example, the UK and France were supposed to come to the aid of Poland if attacked. and while they half-heartedly went up against Germany, they never did declare was on the USSR (which also invaded Poland, two weeks after the Germans).

I don't want a war,[/quote

We just want to keep the threat alive!



but the United States and the United Kingdom have to fulfill their commitments to Ukraine.

Problem: the agreement that was signed doesn't seem to have the force of law or treaty. Just... an agreement. For example, Congress did not ratify it.
 

Rickshaw

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Triton said:
Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
What would you propose the UN, NATO or USA do about the Ukrainian situation? Drop some Nukes on those pesky Russians in the Crimea?

That's pretty much your answer for everything, isn't it. Perhaps you should try to think more creatively. Go ahead. Give it a shot. What would you do, apart from nuking them?

If the United States and the United Kingdom do nothing it sets a precedent that treaties are not worth the paper they are printed on. In return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons to Russia and signing the Treaty on the non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation gave Ukraine security assurances:

  • Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  • Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  • Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  • Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.
I don't want a war, but the United States and the United Kingdom have to fulfill their commitments to Ukraine.

Good points. Some here seem to feel that being strong and determined means being macho and aggressive, when in reality diplomacy will provide a much safer and peaceful means to solve this problem.
 

Orionblamblam

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Ukraine declares general mobilization after Russia approves use of military force in Crimea


Secretary of the National Security and Defense of Ukraine, Andrey Paruby, reported that mobilization would be conducted across the whole country. All people liable for military service will receive draft notices and will have to come to local military committees on March 2.

Those wacky Ukrainians, being macho and aggressive, when in reality diplomacy will provide a much safer and peaceful means to solve this problem.
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
No, that is YOUR solution for everything. :eek:

Huh. But it certainly looks like YOU were the one who came up with the idea. I haven't seen you come up with any *other* ideas, just nuking them.

Invariably your arguments involve nuclear something or other, preferably nuclear weapons to solve all your problems. I merely made a pre-emptive strike. B)
 

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I was wondering what warranted the use of such an extreme action. Now that they have troops on the ground, it's going to be hard to backpedal without losing face. So they must want Crimea - and surrounding Russian -ethnic territory pretty badly. Is it for access to the Black sea? I'm sure there are plenty good (relatively speaking) reasons, i just don't know them. Anyone care to shed some light?
 

yasotay

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???? Um I think the point was that the Russian Federation signed that treaty and appear to have ignored it. I lost ten bucks at work cause I thought it would be another week before Russia acted. Anyone who thought Russia was going to let their only southern warm water port go to a western leaning government is clueless about Russian geopolitics. I'm just sad that the western governments appear not have even planned any decent rhetoric for the occasion.
 

GTX

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Perhaps rather than reliving the Cold War thrill this brings some or posting thinly veiled allusions to Nazi invasions one should pause to also consider the Russian view of this situation: they have a large Russian/Russian ethnic population in the region in question; the Crimea region has only been viewed as part of the Ukraine since the early-mid '50s; they have a large naval/military presence in the form of their Black Sea Fleet stationed there and there have been decidedly anti-Russian protests amongst the ones involved in the recent Ukrainian revolution. One should be able to understand why Russia may feel compelled to take the actions it has.

This simply is not a case of Russia gobbling up land as part of some "Greater Russia" expansion, despite what some may wish to portray!

Moreover, let's imagine what the reaction might be if the situation were somewhat reversed: What if, it was occurring in Japan. Let's say, some form of popular uprising had occurred across the country. Would the USA simply stand by and do nothing in regards to their presence in Okinawa? Would they do nothing in regards to the large naval/military presence there not to mention the associated civilian/military dependants in the area? I am sure the answer is No. They would certainly increase their security levels and quite possibly deploy additional forces to the area to bolster security in case anything were to occur.

Simply painting this as a situation of the "good guys" against the "bad guys" is overly simplistic, shows a lack of appreciation of the realities of the situation and, if taken too far, is fraught with danger.
 

Justo Miranda

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This is just theatrics. At the end of the day, the Russians will fight to keep their points of access to the sea open, the Western countries will leave their Allies to their own devices, after giving them hopes of resistance (Warsaw, Prague, Suez, Saigon, Georgia.....) and we Europeans will pay the retirement and health expenses of the Ukrainians.

All is already set up and it is just a matter of the number of times that we will watch the subject on TV News, as well as the politically correct number of deaths before stopping the counting.
 

Orionblamblam

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GTX said:
the Russian view of this situation: they have a large Russian/Russian ethnic population in the region in question;

And there area lot of ethnic Chinese in San Franciscos Chinatown. If the PRC moved in a bunch of troops, I'm pretty sure there would be complaint. There are many ethnic Mexicans in New Mexico; if Mexicon made moves to annex Albuquerque, they'd meet resistance. And of course there are man ethnic Americans in London, Paris and Berlin; if the US Army moved in and claimed those cities for the Greater United States, I suspect there would be some strongly worded complaints.

the Crimea region has only been viewed as part of the Ukraine since the early-mid '50s

What, you mean after Stalin finished moving tens of thousands of ethnic Russians into the region?

Would the USA simply stand by and do nothing in regards to their presence in Okinawa?

You're right! we should've annexed Okinawa, turned it into state #51.

How about this: the Us Marines & Navy have a presence in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Howsabout the US moves in and takes over the Guantanamo Province? That would be awesome.

Simply painting this as a situation of the "good guys" against the "bad guys" is overly simplistic,

Sure. It's not 'good vs bad," it's "freakin' incompetent vs bad."
 

_Del_

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yasotay said:
I'm just sad that the western governments appear not have even planned any decent rhetoric for the occasion.

Our response has only slightly surprised me. I said somewhere recently in the China ADZ thread that I can't see this administration doing anything other than blowing wind in response to a Chinese move towards the Senkaku islands. The only thing that surprises me is that we look somewhat disinterested and moreover as you said, look almost surprised. It's amazing that we apparently didn't even have a contingency plan (or one that the administration is willing to act on). Completely winging it. I'm sure the governments in Taipei and Seoul feel very secure right now.
 

Michel Van

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If this goes wrong, very wrong, it's end for Ukraine

What left over is a pro european West Ukraine with ruins of Chernobyl and it fallout zone.
While east Ukraine and crimea are part of Russian federation.
and Moldova republic double it's territory and got suddenly a coastline
with the Moldova leaders think out loud about joining the Russian federation

The European union will babbling and babbling and babbling, then chancellor Merkel will speak serious, that's all
Obama WHAHAHAHAHAH!, you think really he will make some action against Putin ?
he will just like Merkel make a serous speak, babbling about nonspecific sanction
even Europe and USA start sanction against Russian federation, they turn to China and India
in other words making the sanction useless…

...welcome in new cold war
 

GTX

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If you recall, I did say that "one should pause to also consider the Russian view of this situation". I suppose that for some here though, considering anyone else's views is simply beyond their comprehension or intellect.
 

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GTX said:
If you recall, I did say that "one should pause to also consider the Russian view of this situation". I suppose that for some here though, considering anyone else's views is simply beyond their comprehension or intellect.

Which is what? That the Russian Federation is looking out for the interests of ethnic Russians residing in Ukraine and the Crimea who don't want to become part of the European Union?
 

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GTX said:
If you recall, I did say that "one should pause to also consider the Russian view of this situation". I suppose that for some here though, considering anyone else's views is simply beyond their comprehension or intellect.
Russia was never going to let Sevasotpol go. That was the whole reason for the treaties involving the Ukraine in the first place. That's completely understandable, perhaps even reasonable. I understand why using force to secure that was practical to the Russians; I don't know that it should be seen as acceptable. Successful diplomacy would have been to guarantee that access to the Russians' satisfaction without them taking it. Unless we're willing to use military force to remove them (and I'm not entirely convinced that we should be), we can offer the Russians little in return compared to the region they already hold. Diplomatically, we have no real stick compared to the carrot they already have. We've ceded initiative in all respects.
 

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_Del_ said:
Diplomatically, we have no real stick compared to the carrot they already have. We've ceded initiative in all respects.

I think about all that's left would be to close the Bosporus to Russian shipping traffic. Be kind of a trick... maybe just jam it up with old ships, chained together.
 

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If we're keen on starting a shooting war and want them to throw the first stone for perception reasons, then that'd be a good way to do it.
 

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In the meanwhile...
https://twitter.com/Missilito/status/440087477244944384/photo/1
 

Orionblamblam

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As far as the whole "we should see it from Russias point of view" WRT glomming onto regions populated by ethnic/cultural Russians... I'd be a lot more sanguine if Vlad was more willing to let go of regions *not* overly populated by ethnic/cultural Russians.
 

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Triton

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I don't usually agree with Charles Krauthammer, but this time he is spot on!

"Putin's plan: A new Russian empire"
Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014 6:00 am
by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

Source:
http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/opinion/op-ed/putin-s-plan-a-new-russian-empire/article_8752decc-9bed-56c9-8f26-a5ef00b58b96.html

Henry Kissinger once pointed out that since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year. All undone, of course, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.”

Putin’s mission is restoration. First, restore traditional Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted “stability,” march.

Use the 2008 war with Georgia to detach two of its provinces, returning them to the bosom of mother Russia (by way of Potemkin independence). Then late last year, pressure Ukraine to reject a long-negotiated deal for association with the European Union, to draw Ukraine into Putin’s planned “Eurasian Union” as the core of a new Russian mini-empire.

Turns out, however, Ukraine had other ideas. It overthrew Moscow’s man in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych, and turned to the West. But the West — the EU and America — had no idea what to do.

Russia does. Moscow denounces the overthrow as the illegal work of fascist bandits, refuses to recognize the new government created by parliament, withholds all economic assistance and, in a highly provocative escalation, mobilizes its military forces on the Ukrainian border.

The response? The EU dithers and Barack Obama slumbers. After near total silence during the first three months of Ukraine’s struggle for freedom, Obama said on camera last week that in his view Ukraine is no “Cold War chessboard.”

Unfortunately, this is exactly what it is for Putin. He wants Ukraine back.

Obama wants stability, The New York Times reports, quoting internal sources. He sees Ukraine as merely a crisis to be managed rather than an opportunity to alter the increasingly autocratic trajectory of the region, allow Ukrainians to join their destiny to the West and block Russian neo-imperialism.

Sure, Obama is sympathetic to democracy. But it must come organically, from internal developments, you see. Must not be imposed by outside intervention, but develop on its own.

But Ukraine is never on its own. Not with a bear next door. American neutrality doesn’t allow an authentic Ukrainian polity to emerge. It leaves Ukraine naked to Russian pressure.

What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that American inaction creates a vacuum. His evacuation from Iraq consigned that country to Iranian hegemony, just as Obama’s writing off Syria invited in Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of battle.

Putin fully occupies vacuums. In Ukraine, he keeps flaunting his leverage. He’s withdrawn the multibillion-dollar aid package with which he had pulled the now-deposed Ukrainian president away from the EU. He has mobilized Russian forces bordering Ukraine. His health officials are even questioning the safety of Ukrainian food exports.

This is no dietary hygiene campaign. This is a message to Kiev: We can shut down your agricultural exports today, your natural gas supplies tomorrow. We can make you broke and we can make you freeze.

Kissinger once also said “in the end, peace can be achieved only by hegemony or by balance of power.” Ukraine will either fall to Russian hegemony, or finally determine its own future — if America balances Russia’s power.

How? Start with a declaration of full-throated American support for Ukraine’s revolution. Follow that with a serious loan/aid package — say, replacing Moscow’s $15 billion — to get Ukraine through its immediate financial crisis. Then join with the EU to extend a longer substitute package, preferably through the International Monetary Fund.

Secretary of State John Kerry says Russian intervention would be a mistake. Alas, any such declaration from this administration carries the weight of a feather. But better that than nothing. Better still would be backing these words with a naval flotilla in the Black Sea.

Whether anything Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable. But surely the West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.

The point is for the U.S., leading Europe, to counter Russian pressure and make up for its blandishments/punishments until Ukraine is on firm financial footing.

Yes, $15 billion is a lot of money. But it’s less than one-half of one-tenth of 1 percent of the combined EU and U.S. GDP. And expending treasure is infinitely preferable to expending blood. Especially given the strategic stakes: Without Ukraine, there’s no Russian empire.

Putin knows that. Which is why he keeps ratcheting up the pressure. The question is, can this administration muster the counterpressure to give Ukraine a chance to breathe?
 

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"The question is, can this administration muster the counterpressure to give Ukraine a chance to breathe?"

The answer is "no" of course. This administration is worse than useless.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
As far as the whole "we should see it from Russias point of view" WRT glomming onto regions populated by ethnic/cultural Russians... I'd be a lot more sanguine if Vlad was more willing to let go of regions *not* overly populated by ethnic/cultural Russians.

It isn't like the Russians have a history of not being cultural/geographic imperialists.

On the other hand - claiming that the true Ukraine is Western Ukraine and demanding territorial integrity for the Ukraine - including the Russian regions, while trying to suppress the Russian language... well, it puts people in those regions in a bit of a difficult situation.

It is difficult to keep things under control when you basically deny an entire part of your citizenship the status of true citizens and try to suppress their daily language. It tempts things further when you make it clear that you won't let them vote for secession (and you won't let them vote for pluralism either).

I've been trying to figure out the various scenarios for what could happen over the next few days.
 

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"Russian TV ratchets up rhetoric on Ukraine"
by Stephen Ennis

2 March 2014

Source:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26411396

Russian TV has been ratcheting up its belligerent rhetoric as fears grow of a full-blown military conflict with its neighbour Ukraine. Ukrainian TV, meanwhile, is full of foreboding.

Official Russian TV channel Rossiya 1 has given strong indications that further military action will follow after Moscow strengthened its armed forces' presence in Crimea and Russia's upper house of parliament unanimously voted to endorse Vladimir Putin's use of troops in Ukraine.

In a special edition of its flagship current-affairs programme Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) on 2 March, controversial anchor Dmitry Kiselev was dismissive of Western threats of diplomatic isolation for Russia and of the new Ukrainian government's decision to mobilise its armed forces.

"I don't want to offend anyone, but the best that can said for the Ukrainian army is that there isn't one," Kiselev sneered.
"We don't give up our own"

Mr Kiselev is well known for his anti-Western and homophobic outbursts. In December, a Ukrainian journalist and activist awarded him a mock Oscar for his "lies and nonsense" about the protests in Kiev that eventually led to the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Denouncing the "bandit excesses" that had brought "democracy to its knees" in Ukraine (language that has now become familiar in Russian TV's coverage of the crisis), Mr Kiselev insisted that Russia had to defend its "interests" and the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine.

Framed against the background of massed Russian flags at a pro-Moscow demonstration in Crimea and the caption "We don't give up our own", Kiselev said that it was "impossible not to respond to this challenge".

"This is not even Syria, it is simply us," he declared.

Reports from the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv reinforced the message. Crowds were shown chanting "Russia, Russia", waving Russian flags and sporting the ribbons of St George, a military symbol associated with Russia's annual Victory Day celebrations on 9 May.

Back in Moscow and St Petersburg, there were also large gatherings in support of Putin's stance on Ukraine.

"This is a personal matter for all of us. It is an historic moment, when our common energy is the key to victory," Mr Kiselev intoned.
"TV troops"

Rossiya 1 has further sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government by suggesting that Mr Yanukovych's overthrow was engineered with the help of "mercenaries" from the USA, UK, Germany and Turkey.

It has also played up reports of links between Ukrainian nationalist "radicals" and anti-Moscow Islamists in the North Caucasus.

And Russian TV has been running other stories that could be used to justify further military intervention in Ukraine, both to its own citizens and world opinion. The Vesti Nedeli special suggested that "unknown armed people" had crossed from Ukraine into Russia's Belgorod Region.

Earlier state-controlled Channel One TV reported that over 140,000 people had fled to Russia to avoid the unrest in Ukraine.

But according to independent Russian website Newsru.com, Channel One illustrated the story with shots of a checkpoint at a border crossing between Ukraine and Poland.

Newsru.com also quoted Ukraine's independent online Hromadske TV as saying this was an example of Russia using "TV troops" in its information war with Ukraine.

Some of these reports are reminiscent of Russian TV's claims that some 2,000 people had been killed in a "genocide" unleashed by Georgian troops at the start of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. Russia later admitted that only around 160 civilians had been killed in the conflict.

'Second Crimean War'

Independent media in Russia have questioned state TV's coverage of the Ukraine crisis.

Business daily Vedomosti noted the susceptibility of Russian people to "TV propaganda" and the idea of empire, but said that "behind the imperial propaganda there is no politics, economics or desire to support an empire".

Some leading Russian bloggers have expressed "shame" and disquiet about Russia's actions on Ukraine. But there is also evidence of a pro-Kremlin online mobilisation. The Russian hashtag "RussiaDoesn'tLeaveItsOwnBehind" has massed over 80,000 tweets.

Ukrainian politicians have, meanwhile, renewed calls for Russian TV to be dropped from the country's cable packages. "I will ask for the switching off of Russian TV channels, which are calling on Ukrainians and Russia to fight each other," said Fatherland MP Mykola Tomenko.

Some media have also been hitting back. Independent online Espresso TV suggested that a pro-Moscow rally in Kharkiv had been boosted by Russians being bussed across the border.

But on mainstream Ukrainian TV, the mood has been mainly sober and full of foreboding. ICTV called 1 March "alarming Saturday", while One Plus One TV declared it marked the start of the "Second Crimean War".

An analysis looking in more detail at Ukrainian media coverage of the crisis will be published on the BBC News website in the coming days.
 

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Avimimus said:
Orionblamblam said:
As far as the whole "we should see it from Russias point of view" WRT glomming onto regions populated by ethnic/cultural Russians... I'd be a lot more sanguine if Vlad was more willing to let go of regions *not* overly populated by ethnic/cultural Russians.

It isn't like the Russians have a history of not being cultural/geographic imperialists.

On the other hand - claiming that the true Ukraine is Western Ukraine and demanding territorial integrity for the Ukraine - including the Russian regions, while trying to suppress the Russian language... well, it puts people in those regions in a bit of a difficult situation.

It is difficult to keep things under control when you basically deny an entire part of your citizenship the status of true citizens and try to suppress their daily language. It tempts things further when you make it clear that you won't let them vote for secession (and you won't let them vote for pluralism either).

I've been trying to figure out the various scenarios for what could happen over the next few days.

Which made me think that Ukraine would split into two countries much like what occurred in Georgia.
 

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Avimimus said:
On the other hand - claiming that the true Ukraine is Western Ukraine and demanding territorial integrity for the Ukraine - including the Russian regions, while trying to suppress the Russian language... well, it puts people in those regions in a bit of a difficult situation.

It is my understanding that the majority of the Russian-speakers in Ukraine are Stalin-era imports and their descendants. Thus, Ukraine demanding that they learn Ukrainian is no more a difficult situation than France demanding that Algerian immigrants learn French, or Denmark demanding that Egyptian immigrants learn Danish, or Japan demanding that immigrants learn Japanese.
 

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We could easily see a fully independent Crimea which is separate from Ukraine or Russia. The big question is the north-east. If I recall the terrain is flatter there and conductive to open warfare, it lacks the isthmus which can be easily secured.

So we could see Western Ukrainian troops or paramilitaries clashing in that area. If Russia decides to protect parts of the east it would likely mean committing air assets to conduct interdiction against advancing troop columns - so you get a general war. Securing the Crimea was an obvious move (strong public support, easily defensible, and almost instinctive for a military command that is potentially threatened in the Sevastopol naval base. The choices around the north-east, for both sides, are less clear.

Let us hope for a rapid diplomatic solution.
 
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