Monday, March 3, 2014

• Surrender or Face 'Storm,' Russia Reportedly Tells Ukraine by NBC NEWS



Zoom in (real dimensions: 690 x 460)


The Russian military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 5 a.m. Tuesday (10 p.m. ET Monday) to surrender or face a "storm," Interfax news agency reported.




"If they do not surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow, we will start a real storm in Ukrainian bases in Crimea," according to the statement sent by the Russians to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a ministry source told Interfax. NBC News could not immediately confirm the report.
The ultimatum was attributed to Alexandr Vitko, chief commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet.
Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian citizens.

The standoff in Ukraine has created the greatest moment of tension between Russia and the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event Russian President Vladimir Putin once called the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.









Image

The Russian military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 5 a.m. Tuesday (10 p.m. ET Monday) to surrender or face a “storm,” Interfax news agency reported.

“If they do not surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow, we will start a real storm in Ukrainian bases in Crimea,” according to the statement sent by the Russians to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a ministry source told Interfax. NBC News could not immediately confirm the report.

The ultimatum was attributed to Alexandr Vitko, chief commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian citizens.

The standoff in Ukraine has created the greatest moment of tension between Russia and the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event Russian President Vladimir Putin once called the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. source – NBC News

Reuters contributed to this report.






Important notes:
• The deadline for force surrender is 10:00pm tonight.
• Secretary Kerry arrives in Ukraine tomorrow.
• Russia has declared a new state: “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea“.
======================
Russia declares the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
It appears that Russia has taken control of Crimea without firing a shot and is referring to it as the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea," presumably with the intention of making it a puppet state of Moscow.

Ukraine's government in Kiev is only a few days old and seems to be in disarray. So far, it's avoiding any strong military overreaction that would provide Russia with an excuse for a further military invasion, perhaps into eastern Ukraine beyond Crimea. However, the government warned Sunday it was on the brink of disaster and called up military reservists to counter Russia's threat to Ukraine.

Russia has appointed Sergey Aksyonov to prime minister of Crimea, and on Sunday he announced:

I believe that this day will go down in history of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy. We will prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.

Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an independent, integral public authority. I am sure that all of us will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can give Crimeans what they expect from us.

We will never see 'Maidan' with their black smoke and burned tires here. I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm, quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here happily.

This last paragraph is actually pretty funny. Aksyonov has absolutely no clue whether Crimea will be "calm, quiet, friendly." No national leader at any time or place in history can be sure of avoiding widespread anti-government demonstrations that might result in "black smoke and burned tires." A government can use violence and torture to suppress demonstrations for a time, but even that doesn't always work (as we see every day in Syria). Sooner or later the pressure cooker explodes.

As I've written dozens of times, it's a basic principle of Generational Dynamics that even in a dictatorship, major policies and events are determined by masses of people, entire generations of people, and not by politicians. What politicians say or do is irrelevant, except insofar as their actions reflect the attitudes of the people that they represent, and so politicians can neither cause nor prevent the great events of history. So Aksyonov's claims are totally meaningless.

There have been many comparisons of today's situation in Ukraine to Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia, when Russia annexed two Georgian provinces in much the same way that Russia is now annexing Crimea.

But there was something noteworthy about the Georgian war that rarely gets mentioned. Here's what I wrote in "Moscow Times: 'Russia Adds 2 New Countries to Its Map'" in 2008:

What's become clear in these three weeks is that there isn't much visceral hatred between Georgians and Russians. The Georgians are furious that the Russians are occupying Georgian territory, but there's no genocidal fury between these two ethnic groups.

What's also become clear, however, is that there is plenty of genocidal fury between Georgians and Ossetians. These two ethnic groups really hate each other, and either of them would gladly exterminate the other.

Those relationships turned out to be the deciding factors in what followed after the war ended. Russia and Georgia, both Orthodox Christian nations, have gotten along pretty well since then, while Muslim South Ossetia effectively joined North Ossetia to become part of Russia's North Caucasus provinces. North and South Ossetia get along well with Chechnya, Dagestan, and Russia's other North Caucasus provinces, even though the Muslim Caucasians as a whole and the ethnic Russians exhibit mutual vitriolic hatred almost on a daily basis.

Likewise, the future of Ukraine is going to be determined by the relationships between the ethnic groups. There have been signs of hatred between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians at the government level. The new Kiev government voted to ban Russian as an official language in the country, while the government in Moscow has been referring to the Kiev government as "Nazis." But so far, I have not discerned a great deal of hatred at the level of ordinary Ukrainians and Russians (though it's early and it may simply not have shown itself yet).

If there were only ethnic Russians and a few ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea, then the hopes and dreams of Aksyonov for a "calm, quiet, friendly" future might actually have a chance. But that's not what you have.

You have two million ethnic Russians and 300,000 Muslim ethnic Tatars living in Crimea. Russia's dictator Josef Stalin in 1944 deported 200,000 Tatars from Crimea, where they had lived for centuries, to central Asia, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s that the Tatars returned in large numbers to Crimea, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's independence. The Tatars are scared to death of being under the control of the Russians again, and so they're aligning themselves with the government in Kiev. And the references in Moscow to "Nazis" in Ukraine strike a very deep chord in the Tatar psyche. There is no way that this relationship is going to be "calm, quiet and friendly." Russia Today and AFP
Strategic consequences of Russia's conquest of Crimea

One website reader (BronxZionist) has kindly provided a list of some of the possible strategic consequences of the Russian conquest of Crimea:

Putin won't be satisfied with just the Crimea and will also take the Ukrainian portion of the Donbas.
300,000 Crimean Tatars will become refugees. Or perhaps they will just "radicalize" and join the jihad going on in the Caucasus.
500,000 Ukrainians in Crimea will become refugees, putting a burden on Ukraine and the EU at a wonderfully wrong moment.
The above two will be aggravated if Putin seizes the Donbas [Ukraine's large easternmost province, bordering on Russia] as well, along with the Russians who will be under great pressure to abandon homes in Ukraine.
[Russia's president Vladimir] Putin will see there is nothing to hinder him in making demands in regards to Transnistria [in Moldova, along Ukraine's western border, another breakaway province occupied by Russian troops], whether it be recognition of its independence or outright annexation. That will of course further degrade the defensive situation in the rump of Ukraine.
Putin will see there is nothing to hinder him in whatever other demands he wishes to make in expanding his Eurasian Union, effectively recreating the Russian Empire. Or is that the Soviet Union?
The U.S. and U.K. will lose considerable diplomatic "face" over the Budapest Memorandum, much as the U.K. and France looked stupid and found themselves "forced" to declare war after the dissolution of Czechoslavakia and declaration of war on Poland in 1938 and 1939.
The fallout from that will be even more severe when it comes to getting countries to give up their WMD in exchange for "guarantees". That will go down especially well in Syria, which of course Putin will be in an even better position to supply.
The EU will lose standing for not bailing Ukraine out.
NATO will lose standing, particularly with the former Warsaw Pact countries, and more with the Baltic states who have Russian minorities to deal with.
Putin will gain a major victory overall, making it much easier for him to promise help to others who see that no one will stand up to him.
China will note the utter lack of resolve on the part of the U.S. and advance its claims in the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands.


======================

The Russian military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 5 a.m. Tuesday (10 p.m. ET Monday) to surrender or face a “storm,” Interfax news agency reported.

“If they do not surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow, we will start a real storm in Ukrainian bases in Crimea,” according to the statement sent by the Russians to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a ministry source told Interfax. NBC News could not immediately confirm the report.

The ultimatum was attributed to Alexandr Vitko, chief commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian citizens.

The standoff in Ukraine has created the greatest moment of tension between Russia and the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event Russian President Vladimir Putin once called the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.


Image






Upcoming trade, investment with Russia also suspended
US puts hold on military-to-military operations with Russia

by (CNN)

The United States has put on hold all military-to-military engagements with Russia, an official announced Monday.
"Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding, and reduce the risk of military miscalculation, we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia. This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences," said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

The US also has suspended upcoming trade and investment with Russia, a spokesman told CNN. "Due to recent events in Ukraine, we have suspended upcoming bilateral trade and investment engagement with the Government of Russia that were part of a move toward deeper commercial and trade ties," said the U.S. Trade Representative spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama held a Cabinet-level meeting Monday night at the White House to discuss the situation, according to senior administration officials. The president met with Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, the officials said.

Meanwhile, Russia showed no signs of backing down Monday even as world leaders threatened sanctions and sternly rebuked the country for sending troops into Ukraine.

At an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the unfolding crisis, Ukraine's envoy asked for help, saying that Russia had used planes, boats and helicopters to flood the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with 16,000 troops in the past week.

"So far, Ukrainian armed forces have exercised restraint and refrained from active resistance to the aggression, but they are in full operational readiness," Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said.

As diplomats at the meeting asked Russia to withdraw its troops and called for mediation to end the crisis, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin insisted his country's aims were preserving democracy, protecting millions of Russians in Ukraine and stopping radical extremists.

He said ousted President Viktor Yanukovych remains Ukraine's elected leader and has asked Russia to send troops.

The Russian envoy read a letter from Yanukovych at the U.N. meeting, describing Ukraine as a country "on the brink of civil war," plagued by "chaos and anarchy."

"People are being persecuted for language and political reasons," the letter said. "So in this regard, I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine."

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia's claims about the situation in Ukraine are untrue and warned that sending military forces "could be devastating."

Yanukovych, she said, abandoned his post last month and was then voted out of office by Ukraine's democratically elected parliament.

"Russian military action is not a human rights protection mission," Power said. "It is a violation of international law."

Earlier Monday, global stocks slipped on fears things could get worse, and diplomats grasped for a way to stop the situation from escalating.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the situation Europe's most serious crisis of the still-young 21st century.

And U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States is examining a series of economic and diplomatic steps to "isolate Russia," and he called on Congress to work with his administration on an economic assistance package for Ukraine.

Tensions mount

In Crimea, more Russian troops arrived, surrounding military posts and other facilities and taking effective control of the peninsula from Ukrainian authorities. What they planned to do next remained unclear.

Analysts told CNN the apparently growing presence of Russian troops in Crimea means there's a risk the tense standoff could escalate.

"There are lots of unintended consequences when you have armed men staring at each other in places like you do in Crimea," said Michael McFaul, the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia. "So I think we all need to be very vigilant and worry about the worst case scenario, because it's no one's interest ... to see all out civil war in this country in the heart of Europe of 50 million people."

Putin's moves into Ukraine come as the Russian leader struggles to deal with a political crisis in the neighboring country that didn't unfold as his government hoped, according to Russia analyst Jill Dougherty, formerly CNN's Moscow bureau chief.

"Putin has been trying to figure out what to do. So now he's taking these steps," Dougherty said. "And I think that he probably thinks that they're carefully calibrated. But he really is playing with fire."

In one ominous incident, a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet boarded a blocked Ukrainian warship and issued a threat.

"Swear allegiance to the new Crimean authorities, or surrender, or face an attack," he said, according to the spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov.


  





Zoom in (real dimensions: 599 x 816)