Tag Archives: Crimea

DEVELOPING: Russian Troops Storm Ukrainian Airbase in Crimea

Armed Russian forces backed by armored vehicles broke into a Ukrainian airbase Saturday in Crimea.  The three armored vehicles reportedly rammed through a gate of the Belbek airbase after Russian forces had given word to troops inside to either surrender or prepare to be stormed.

Reports from the scene indicate that the armored vehicles smashed through the gates of the compound while other Russian soldiers broke through the walls in other sections of the facility.

According to a correspondent with AFP, armed men wearing camouflage and sunglasses fired automatic weapons into the air and dismantled a camera providing a live feed of the front gate of the base.  Russian soldiers were also seen pointing guns at Ukrainian soldiers.
According to a Ukrainian defense ministry official, at least two soldiers were shot during the raid of the base, though there are no reports of any deaths.

Here, you can watch video from the video camera feed at the airbase:

There are in total only about three Ukrainian strongholds in the region of Crimea.  With the Belbek base now under Russian control, the number of remaining Ukrainian strongholds has now fallen by one.

Breaking: Crimea Overwhelmingly Votes To Leave Ukraine For Russia, Ukraine Says It Will Defend Nation

In a referendum vote that shouldn’t come as a surprise, the numbers coming out of the Crimea referendum vote appear to be overwhelmingly in favor of leaving Ukraine.

Granted, the initial reports are coming from Russian state TV.  With over half the votes counted, 95.5 percent had chosen the option of annexation by Moscow, the head of the referendum commission, Mikhail Malyshev, said two hours after polls closed.

According to Malyshev, he turnout was very high, around 83 percent. On some levels, that number may seem almost too high considering that many who opposed the move had said they would boycott the vote.  On the other hand, as we have reported, Crimea is largely Russian speaking and made up of a population which is vastly of Russian heritage.

The United States, the E.U. and NATO had preemptively denounced the referendum as being illegitimate and a violation of international law.  Those claims are not slowing Russia which has deployed about 60,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, the government in Kiev said.

Reports from the region indicate that the new Ukraine government has closed border crossings to Russia and will mobilize as many as 15,000 volunteers in the next 15 days to defend the nation.

Does Crimea Have The Right To Secede From Ukraine?

In days Crimea will hold a vote on whether or not to secede from Ukraine and rejoin the Russian Federation. The west, meaning the United States, NATO and the EU all claim that Crimea has no right to self rule. On the other hand Russia says that Crimea has every right and doing so keeps with “international norms”. Who is right? Are both sides hypocritical in their stances?

Crimea Renews the Battle Over Rights to Secession

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

One week from today, Crimea will hold a referendum on the issue of secession with the Ukraine, deciding if they will split from the nation, and potentially if they will seek reaccession into the Russian Federation.

crimThe contentious vote has renewed international debate about whether or not self-rule is a right under international law, though the history of positions from all the major powers suggests that their positions are completely malleable and just a matter of what benefits them at any given time.

The West, which has decided in this case Crimea’s self-rule is not in their interest, has taken the position that self-rule is a violation of international law, and that secession votes are only allowed if the regime one’s region is trying to escape from gives them permission.

That’s an historically problematic position for a number of reasons, from America’s own war of secession against a very unwilling Britain to the 1999 secession of Kosovo from Serbia, which Western nations loudly backed.

Russia opposed Kosovar independence, but President Putin argues that Crimea’s referendum is fully in keeping with international norms. He’s not wrong, but the norms suggest that major powers on all sides are cynically reserving self-rule for those they might stand to gain something from.


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Crimea Votes To Leave Ukraine, Join Russia and U.S. Sending Warship To Black Sea

The U.S. Navy has confirmed that a guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxtun, is heading to the Black Sea.  The U.S. claims this destroyer is not moving into the Black Sea because of the situation in Ukraine. Rather, it is part of a routine exercise that has been planned for months.

In a statement the Navy says, “While in the Black Sea, the ship will conduct a port visit and routine, previously planned exercises with allies and partners in the region,”

Meanwhile, only weeks after protests in Kiev led to the ousting of Ukraine’s President, the Crimean parliament Thursday voted overwhelmingly “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”.

That vote by the Crimean Parliament will go to voters as a referendum on March 16.  The vice premier of Crimea, said that if the referendum were approved,  all state property would be “nationalized”, the Russian ruble adopted and Ukrainian troops treated as occupiers and forced to surrender or leave.

The response to that vote has varied from shock in the western part of Ukraine to outright rejection by the United States and the EU which called the vote “illegitimate” and a “violation of Ukraine’s Constitution”.  Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated after the vote,  “Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine.”

President Obama has also come out against that vote telling reporters, “Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.  In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

Of course, when President Obama says the “legitimate government” of Ukraine must be involved in any discussion of Crimea joining Russia it is an interesting choice of words.  Russia’s President Putin says that the government that is now in control of Ukraine is not legitimate, having ousted the democratically elected President of the nation.