In a press conference today Ukrainian President Yanukovych said he was sorry he did not have the strength to keep the the country stable and that he fled Kiev out of fear for his life from criminals. He does not recognize the opposition’s power to remove him from office, he says he still is president.
Yanukovych has the backing of Russia which according to the Associated Press has allegedly moved military forces into the Crimea Region. which some in the Ukrainian opposition labeled an “armed invasion.”
Masked gunmen stormed the parliament of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region as Russian fighter jets screamed above the border, while Ukraine’s newly formed government pledged to prevent a national breakup with the strong backing of the West – the stirrings of a potentially dangerous confrontation reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship…
Russia has pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. But the dispatch of Russian fighter jets Thursday to Ukraine’s borders and drills by some 150,000 Russian soldiers – almost the entirety of its troop force in the western part of the country – signaled strong determination not to lose Ukraine to the West.
The “masked gunmen” may or may not be connected to Russian intelligence but the drills on the border leave little doubt that Russia is prepared to pursue its interests in Eastern Ukraine.
The perspective of Russia seems to be if it can’t have Ukraine whole it will take the eastern part for itself. The opposition in Ukraine considers this unacceptable but if Russia backs up it’s plan with military forces it’s not clear what the opposition can really do about it other than ask for military assistance from the European Union and the United States.
Though some in America may want to talk tough on Ukraine, the idea of a military invasion and subsequent war with Russia seems unlikely. The EU and US may be happy to carve out a nice piece of Western Ukraine for itself and let Russia have sections of the east, such as the Crimea.
Image from Wikipedia Commons.