Russia invades Ukraine

map of Ukraine

Ukraine’s Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov says 2,000 Russian soldiers have landed in Crimea in an armed invasion. 

From AFP:

Russia has sent “several hundred” troops into Ukraine’s Crimea region, US defense officials said Friday, after Kiev called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the peninsula.

“It looks like they’ve moved several hundred troops there (into Crimea),” a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The comments marked the first confirmation from President Barack Obama’s administration that Russia had launched an incursion into Crimea.

The Russians had not given the US government advance notice of the action or explained its intentions since the operation was launched, officials said.

But Pentagon officials stressed Washington was focused on diplomacy, and there was no serious consideration being given to any US military action.

“It is now in the realm of diplomacy,” said a second defense official, who asked not to be named.

Officials also said they were not aware of any request from Ukraine for military assistance.


“Under the guise of military exercises, Russia has brought troops into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. And not only have they seized the parliament of the Crimea, the Council of Ministers of the Crimea, they are trying to take civilian buildings under control, communications, and trying to block places where Ukrainian soldiers are based,” Turchynov said in an appeal to the nation.

They are provoking us to military conflict. According to information from our intelligence, they are working out scenarios that are completely analogous to Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they began annexation of territory,” the acting president emphasized.

Ukraine Pravda is reporting that Russian military planes are now landing in the Crimea:

Russian airplanes are landing in Crimea from the direction of Russia, and a column of APCs [armored personnel carriers] is heading from the east toward Simferopol.

There are reports of at least 5 large IL-76 planes landing in the district of the military airfield in the town of Gvardeyskoye.

Various sources are reporting that a column of 10 Russian APCs is heading from Sevastopol toward Simfereopol.

Interfax Ukraine reports that all air traffic is halted at the Belbek Airport in Sevastopol due to the seizure of the landing strip by unknown persons.

“There are about 400 people now in the Belbek airport. They have occupied the landing strip and any movement of planes is stopped,” said a source.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has imposed capital controls to prevent a bank run. Itar-Tass reports that Ukraine’s national bank has imposed temporary limits to withdraw money from foreign currency deposits to sums equivalent to no more than 15,000 hryvnias (about $1,500) a day, National Bank Chief Stepan Kubiv told a press conference.

UPDATE (March 1, 2014):

6,000 Russian troops reportedly have crossed into Crimea despite calls by Britain and the US for Moscow to back off. Tensions are rising amid reports that Russian and Ukranian troops are trying to gain control of key sites in the southeastern region of Ukraine. (Read more here.)


8 responses to “Russia invades Ukraine

  1. Don’t worry, Obama will meet Putin at Munich and arrange for the dismemberment of the Ukraine. Then he will fly home to Andrews AFB where he will wave a sheet of paper and claim “This means peace in our time.” Putin will sign an agreement stating, “This is my final territorial claim in Europe.”

    Here we go again.


  2. Thank you StMA for this important post. Clearly, this invasion invites Obama to do some more manipulating. Nevertheless, I would not underestimate the Ukrainian people. They will fight for their independence.


  3. anchorageknight

    No matter how sympathetic you may be with Ukranians who protested the corrupt government, and with the brutal response of a unit of its Riot Police,
    Ukraine is not a worthy horse to back. It is barely more a nation than Afghanistan, and in spite of its legal recognition by various nations including Russia, it has never been a functional modern nation. One may understand why its political leaders, coming from the dysfunctional Soviet political system, had no clue how to change that, but one should not confuse the terminology of being a nation with its being one in either the traditional or the modern sense.

    A traditional Ukraine would not look like the present map, and would not include the Crimea. Not that the Crimea was conquered, it was the choice of the Russians to annex it – and other parts of Eastern Ukraine – in 1964. Having done that, Russia should accept the consequences of its choice, and we should require it do so as the first order of business. Nevertheless, Ukraine today is “unnaturally” divided between ethnic Russian and ethnic Ukranian areas, always a formula for problems in nation building. Earlier other territories were annexed to Western Ukraine (Bessarabia and the Capathian Alps of then Czechoslovakia). These (Russian) decisions gave Kiev a more complex situation than needed to be the case. And the new regime in Kiev unwisely made just about its first piece of legislation the ending of Russian as an official language – surely a formula for trouble at a moment it was not needed.

    Ukraine lacks a military force or the military geography to resist the larger, better equipped, somewhat better trained Russian military. It also has never had a functional economy, and depends on “loans” which will never, ever be repaid from outside the country to support its nearly pure welfare state. The per capita income is comparable to Syria or Egypt, not to EU: the economy needs a lot of revision before it could support a peacetime nation, never mind one at war. Supporting the Ukraine in practical terms means coming up with more vast sums of money just to support the civil population in addition to the cost of any military operations, even passive ones.

    There is genuine Ukranian nationalism. In a sense, this is part of the problem: Ukranians in numbers welcomed the invading Germans in 1941 as liberators, including more than a million “Russian” soldiers in uniform complete with a major general to lead them. They formed The Ukranian National Army. This did not surrender when the Soviets reconquered the area, but went underground and survived until at least 1956 in Eastern Europe (not just Ukraine) – opposing Soviet era communist institutions. This was because of a long, sad history of Russian and communist oppression, including mass executions in the 1930s reminding all and sundry how bad the Russians were. Russia has never forgiven Ukranians. [The most elite Russian army division HQ has a sign over its long counter in its HQ where you report with orders: it reads (translated into English) “Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is forgiven.” This is the Russian way.] Russia’s actions this week were planned last week, after the collapse of the regime in Ukraine. The authorization for military action includes ALL of Ukraine, not just the Crimea. In addition to occupation of every key point in Crimea including the institutions in the regional capital, it has blocked all Ukranian naval units so it dominates the entire Black Sea and potentially can land at any point along the Ukranian coast, even in the West. International law prevents our ships from even entering the Black Sea if we are at war – see the convention governing use of the Turkish straits. Ukraine is a rare nuclear power that gave up its nuclear weapons, and it cannot control the air over its own territory. To back Ukraine completely would be horribly unwise and expensive in terms of treasure, lives and the political future of Europe.

    Obama administration policy is remarkably correct in this case – except for the threats he made a few days ago (which only made him look worse when the Russians ignored him). Russia should pay a high price unless it withdraws. In addition to expelling it from the G8, we could use it as an excuse to expell it from the UN. Tell the General Assembly that it is a principle of membership to respect the territory of other members. Either expell Russia or we wil leave the body and stop funding it or allowing its HQ on US soil. [I see no lose here – whatever the General Assembly elected to do.] Start every meeting on every matter with a statement “we can’t proceed on this issue until you withdraw from Ukraine.” Impose all sorts of sanctions and offer a face saving way to back out: push Ukraine to restore Russian as an official language and to allow local autonomy for the East.

    Note that we would look a lot better in this affair if WE were better at respecting sovereignty of other nations. Cruise missiles crossing Pakistan to strike targets in Afghanistan (before we were “allies”) – cruise missiles and drones engaged in assassination – kidnapping and murder on foreign soil in terms that we would resist if other nations did it on our territory – all conspire to make it appear we have double standards and do not respect territorial integrety of other members of the UN and of nations we formally recognize diplomatically. We would be wiser to take a more systematic approach to these maters – and to actually NOT recognize nations which refuse to respect human rights or other nation’s territories. Consistency is more persuasive and more credible than double standards are. So is backing up our threats when we do issue them: the “red line” in Syria persuaded the Russians we need not be taken seriously – because when it was crossed we didn’t do anything about it. Telling unpleasant truths is the first step toward credibility. People respect that, even if they don’t like you. Rhetoric for its own sake is worse than useless: it inflames the situation. Make it clear we will deal with even the Russians if they respect the terms of their own agreements – like UN membership and transfer of Crimea to Ukraine half a century ago.


  4. Pingback: The Ukraine Crisis, Explained By Unnamed Officials | R-Markable

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