Thursday, March 20, 2014
Putin's Speech on Crimea and other "reassuring" notes
Russia has now captured three Ukrainian ships (wow, does the "referendum" also give Russia Ukraine's navy?), Russia is massing troops in Crimea and on Ukraine's northern and eastern borders, and has been conducting military "exercises" near the Estonian border. The Russian government is now expressing concern over the rights of Russian speakers in Estonia as well.
Belarus' Charter 97 site (run by Lukashenka's opposition) has some interesting items. Petro Symonenko, head of the Ukrainian Communist Party, has fled to Minsk. The Belarusian military appears to be mobilizing and Russia has deployed combat aircraft to Belarus. They also report that Putin and Lukashenka were regular guests of Yanukovych at Mezhyhirya.
Meanwhile, Ukrainians seem to increasingly expect a Russian invasion. Also interesting -- a "leaked" document that describes a Russian plan to subvert and take Ukraine.
It's hard to know what to make of some of the reports, such as this last one, which appears to be a faked document. But here's one I can comment on. Chuck Hagel has received "assurances" from Russia's Defense Minister that Russian troops on the eastern and northern borders will not invade Ukraine. My comment: if Russians do intend to invade, what answer will they give to that question, Chuck?
Rhetorical question, of course (and hence a comment). I don't think Chuck Hagel reads Unforeseen Contingencies