Sunday, 2 March 2014

Crimea and East Ukraine: Russia troops and protests

Russian soldiers in Crimea surround Ukrainian soldiers

Events are moving rapidly in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine. The way in which President Obama, Secretary John Kerry, EU politicians and media pundits are panicking over Ukraine's future would make it seem that the country is literally heading to the abyss of hell. The BBC has already painted Crimea as under indirect Russian control short of a Russian occupation as American media paints the Russian army's arrival in the region. There has been little mention of Russia's large naval base located in Crimea. The Russian government had expressed fears of persecution against the Russian speakers in Crimea and Eastern/Southeastern Ukraine by pro Maidan protesters and Kiev government supporters. Crimea still gets to keep its autonomy including an independent parliament and administration outside the rule of Kiev government. Within Crimea, protests are still occurring. Protesters are showing support for Russia but also counter protests against Russian military and support for the Kiev government. Eastern and Southeastern Ukraine has also seen protesters and counter protesters among Russian speakers who are Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainians who are worried over the future of their country. Ironically, Secretary Kerry was quoted as reminding the Russian government, "You don't invade a country on phony pretexts." No one needs a reminder on hypocrisy of Kerry's statement. US Foreign Policy is chalked full of double standards involving coups and invading countries on false pretexts.

East Ukraine protests and clashes

Some protesters in Khariv and other Eastern cities have posted pics and videos with crowds waving Russian flags and storming Kharkiv's Administrative building as the Maidan square protesters had done several weeks earlier. The Ukrainian government has appealed for calm but the protesters both Pro Russian and pro maidan in the Eastern regions have been taking advantage of the geopolitical faultlines to express their views of Russia and the new Ukrainian government. The Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people in Crimea and a minority in their own homeland have been ignored by the media. But they have also joined in the protests and debate questioning the pro Russian support in their homeland given the historical relationship between the Crimean Tatars and Russia. . Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Crimea are currently trapped out of fear after being surrounded by Russian troops. The Ukrainian troops have stayed inside their base to the country's shock. The Ukrainian government has considered calling on reenforcement if Russia makes anymore dangerous moves. As a result of Russian push into Crimea, it has been kicked out of the G-8 by Western countries and their allies. The G-8 meeting scheduled to be hosted in Sochi for the next coming weeks has been canceled. Now the G-8 has been turned back to G-7. Russia recently hosted the last G-8 meeting last year prior to the Winter Olympics. On the diplomatic front, UN Russian and American ambassadors have each defended their countries' taken actions regarding Crimea and Ukraine to reassure the world that a world war wasn't on the horizon.

Pro Russian supporters storm Kharkiv's administrative building

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