The Jakarta Post
March 2, Online/AP
Russian troops took over the strategic Crimean peninsula Saturday without firing a shot. The newly installed government in Kiev was powerless to react, and despite calls by US President Barack Obama for Russia to pull back its forces, Western governments had few options to counter Russia's military moves.
Any attempt by the Ukraine to fall into the NATO and EU camp was bound to cause tension of seismic proportions with Russia. While there will be tensions, the reality is that the Crimea and perhaps other districts will become part of Russia rather than the Ukraine.
So long as Russia proceeds no further there is unlikely to be any conflict. The Ukraine was separated from Russia under the treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917. Although reincorporated, there has been this historical development of separation that is likely to be pursued by Europe, especially Germany.
It's really now just a question of what an independent Ukraine will consist of.
It is Russia President Vladimir Putin who has carried out propaganda for some time in order to grab Crimea. Hardly any Russian speaking Ukrainians have asked for Putin to come to Crimea.
Russia claimed that the ethnic Russians were in danger. So far only one Russian has died and he was demonstrating against the old corrupt regime.
The new Ukrainian government is a broad coalition, unfortunately including some very right wing politicians. This will probably be settled with free elections. Russia had no right to invade.
Ukraine was independent, with a constitution providing for a lawful and orderly impeachment process, and provisions for referenda and presidential governance to decide on major projects and financial commitments.
EU and Wall Street financiers didn't like any of that, and the recent coup has included arbitrary appointments of ministers and security chiefs, all in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution, as with the violent expulsion of the president in the coup itself.
The coup has also involved the forcible occupation of Orthodox churches with the aim of manipulating Catholic supremacism and other fake Euro religionism to further cover for the criminality (as with the attacks on and threats against local Jews) .
Crimea may be just the start. Next could be Eastern Ukraine. Putin cannot afford for Russia to cede influence over Ukraine to the West. The country of 46 million people is an important trade partner, holds pipelines that carry Russian natural gas to Europe and is central to his ambitions of restoring Moscow's influence over much of the former Soviet Union. Ukraine including the Crimean Peninsula is of particular importance, both strategically and sentimentally.
A point of conflict has also existed between Russia and certain EU member states regarding US plans to build a missile system in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic. The Kremlin complains that the new system threatens its security. Russia objects to the missile defense bases saying that it will, if necessary, target its nuclear weapons on European countries involved in the project.
The Kremlin feels that the US is encroaching in a geographical area which has been traditionally more aligned with Russia and its interests. These feelings were similarly projected towards the coup in Ukraine as the US was influential in the encouragement of these.
DT Van Man