Russian parliament approved on Saturday President’s Vladimir Putin demand to invade Crimea under the pretext of protecting the Russians from the Ukrainian peninsula.
In response, the Ukrainian National Security Council ordered the mobilization of its army on full combat alert and asked for help from NATO, this being the first confrontation between the West and Russia from the end of the Cold War.
The new Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is leading the new government after Vicktor Yanukovych fled, said that “this is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war”, BBC reports. He added that Russian military actions will mean the end of the relations between Ukraine and Russia and the beginning of war.
United States’ reaction
President Obama expressed his deep concern regarding the reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation towards Ukraine. Obama spoke several days ago with Putin, making clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of Ukrainian people and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.
“It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine,“ said Obama.
While both the West and Russia declared to prefer avoiding war and solve the problem peacefully, Russia says that the newly formed Ukrainian government is far-right extremist with anti-Semitic, neo-fascist and xenophobic views, BBC reports.
Ukraine, former USSR member, has had a strong relationship with Russia, both economically and politically. As the result of a deal that was renewed by the former Ukrainian president in 2010, the Ukrainian Peninsula Crimea hosts a Russian naval base in return for cheap natural gas supplied by Russia.
The former President Yanukovych refused to sign in November 2013 a deal between the European Union and Ukraine which would have pushed forward the European integration for Ukraine and break down the ties with Russia. As a result, in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, peaceful protests transformed into violent riots, where the government used lethal forces to calm down the protesters. The clashes resulted in many deaths.
On Feb. 22, 2014, Yanukovych, fled the country to seek refuge in Russia. Meanwhile, the parliament voted a new pro-European president, Olexandr Turchinov.
As many Ukrainians from the eastern side of the country consider themselves Russians and speak Russian language, Russia announced that it is their duty to send troops to Crimea in order to protect its national interest in the area and Russian citizens living there.
An important detail is that the troops from Crimea have not been confirmed as being Russian, as they do not carry any identification insignia.