“Amid signs of Russian military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russian generals led their troops to three bases in the region Sunday, demanding Ukrainian forces surrender and hand over their weapons, Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Crimean Media Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told CNN.”
In response U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry said Russia’s actions were “unacceptable” and could bring “serious repercussions”
Seleznyov went on to say “There is no open confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian military forces in Crimea”
Let’s read Selezyov carefully. What do we know from his quote?
- We know that Russian generals led troops to the region of the Ukraine which is, itself, pro-Russian.
- We know that Ukrainian forces handed over their weapons and that there was likely no violence.
- The quote is from a pro-Ukrainian government official.
Is it possible that Kerry and the U.S. are over-reacting?
The Crimean peninsula has long been a pro-Russian enclave in Ukraine. Isn’t it feasible that they have been watching the events in Kiev with trepidation and concern? Is it conceivable that the pro-Russian Crimeans, both seeing an opportunity in the upheaval in Kiev and simultaneously fearing a new nationalistic Ukrainian government would turn to Russians not so far to the north and ask them to come to their aide? That the Ukrainian troops stationed there might not have laid down their weapons in response to Russian demands, but instead welcomed their Russian brothers? What motivation does Seleznyov have to support this view and potentially watch the Crimean peninsula fall away as part of his country?
It remains an invasion if Russian troops are there, even if they turn out to have been invited by pro-Russian Crimean separatists. But we’ll need more reports from both sides of the potential conflict to justify sabre rattling. Let’s not let one sided-media reports blind us to a more complex situation!