Well it turns out Putin is as exactly as daft as he looks, and whilst he hasn’t rolled tanks into Kiev he has for all intents and purposes annexed Crimea. Never mind from 1783 to 1954 Crimea was part of Russia and was given to the Ukraine on a baffling whim of Nikita Krushchev.Probably because he considered Ukraine to be joined at the hip with Russia especially since every country in the USSR was controlled from Moscow anyway. In addition to that history Crimea has been semi autonomous region of the Ukraine to mollify its separatist tendencies.
Its not like nobody should have seen this coming, Putin is a Russian nationalist, he sees reuniting ethnic Russians with the motherland as a core part of “the Russian national interest” and therefore perfectly acceptable. Russia has a recent history of reabsorbing Russian speaking neighbours by military might (eg South Ossetia) Presumably whenever Putin needs to prove his machismo by invading militarily speaking a vastly inferior country.
But yes I still can’t see the west, particularly with Obama in the White House, forcing Russia to back down. The global economy probably couldn’t absorb the cost of strict economic sanctions and nobody is going to get in a shooting war with Russia. Sure the west would win, but Russia has picked its target perfectly, the west won’t go to war over the Crimea just like we wouldn’t go to war with Nazi Germany over the Sudetenland Ukraine is not a member of Nato so basically their fate is sealed and Putin knows this. So yes, expect more ‘peace in our time’ than Churchillian resolve.
Putin is sowing seeds of retribution for his country however, the Tatar population will never forget what Stalin did to their forebears and he may have earned his country yet more problems with Islamic extremists. Sadly he will not be the one to reap the whirlwind, at least not in this life.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry.
If this is true we now know exactly when the match will be put to the powder keg. The question is, if you were a Ukrainian soldier in a Crimean army base, surrounded by Russian Spetsnaz, with a small portion of the Russian army, the size of the entire Ukrainian army, on maneuvers just over the border. Would you fight for your homeland knowing you certainly will lose and die? How can Ukrainian forces surrender if they are not in a state of war? Its clear this situation is much worse than anyone previously thought.