Skip to comments.Ukrainian government refuses to remove troops from Crimea, prepares for war
Posted on 03/17/2014 1:55:50 PM PDT by robowombat
In the wake of a March 16 referendum in which Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation, Ukrainian leaders refused to cede any part of the peninsula, calling on their troops to prepare for war.
Crimea was, is, and will be our territory, said Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh in a statement delivered at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on March 17.
Former heavyweight boxing champion and leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Vitali Klitschko announced that Ukrainian troops would remain at their bases, even after March 21, the end of a peace treaty signed by the interior ministries of Ukraine and Russia.
In accordance with the March 16 peace treaty, the Russian Interior Ministry promised to allow Ukrainian soldiers to pass freely into and out of their bases, which Russian troops had surrounded for more than two weeks. Tenyukh said that the Russian military had thus far respected the terms of the treaty.
Although tensions have de-escalated around military bases in Crimea since the signing of the treaty, neither side is prepared to back down. The Russian government expects that Ukrainian troops will surrender their military bases before the conclusion of the treaty. The Ukrainian government has said that it will not withdraw forces from Crimea, using the peace as an opportunity to replenish supplies for Ukrainian troops stationed on Crimean bases.
When asked whether Ukrainian troops would fight to defend Crimea, Tenyukh replied tersely, The armed forces will execute their tasks, later adding, Ukrainian forces will stay [in Crimea] until all their tasks have been completed.
Speaking to the Verkhovna Rada in the evening on March 17, Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said that his government would "do everything possible to prevent war." However, he noted that "the threat of war is real...We are strengthening our defense capacity. Ukraine is ready to defend its territory."
Earlier on March 17, the Ukrainian parliament voted to allot 6.7 billion hryvnia (more than $600 million) to bolster the countrys defenses over the next three months, and to partially mobilize the armed forces.
Tenyukh said that the mobilization was intended to bring the military to full readiness. The Verkhovna Rada called for 40,000 troops to be mobilized, calling on reservists to prepare for active duty.
As the Ukrainian economy teeters on the verge of default, the countrys top leaders have been forced to devote resources to bolstering Ukraines military, which many believe former President Victor Yanukovich intentionally undermined over the course of his three and a half year reign.
Klitschko said Ukrainian parliamentarians were prepared to send 25 percent of their salaries to support patriots in Crimea.
Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraines Justice Minister, said that the the most important issue is to restore the military might of Ukraine.
Our army should be ready for combat, said Petrenko.
Klitschko reiterated that the March 16 referendum in Crimea was conducted illegally, and that the peninsula remains part and parcel of Ukraine. As such, the Ukrainian government will continue to provide services to Crimea, including electricity, gas, and water.
In another indication of deteriorating relations between Ukraine and Russia, Klitschko announced that Volodymyr Yelchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia, would be recalled from Moscow for consultations with the newly formed government in Kyiv.
The escalation in rhetoric comes as pro-Kremlin Crimean leaders took the first steps towards integration into the Russian Federation.
The Crimean Supreme Council voted on March 17 to introduce Moscow time to Crimea on March 30. On the same day, Crimean leaders announced that the Russian ruble would begin circulating alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia and would become the only currency in Crimea by Jan. 1.
Kyiv Post staff writer Isaac Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does anybody really think Ubama or The EU will come to Ukraine's defense?
There’s battle lines being drawn...
"High, this is the President, I can't take your call right now, but if you leave your name, number and golf handicap at the beep, I'll get back to you when I feel like it."
“Call me if you need me.”
Like 1938 all over again.
I would think that some of those Ukranian soldiers are from Crimea or some other Russian-leaning district. Would all of them fight for Ukraine now that there’s a Russian Crimea?
One has to understand that central and eastern Ukraina was part of the Imperial Russia since 1654 under the name Malorossia - Small Russia, so they and Russians are brothers for centuries, in blood, language, culture and religion.
They WON’T fight against each other.
Only the Western part, mixed with Poles, was different, belonging to the Hapsburg Empire until 1918, After that it was attached to the Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921.
Ukraine became independent, for the FIRST time, in 1992, but is a country of two people. 30% of the population are ethnic Russian and/or of Russian mother tongue. That makes 16 million out of 45, concentrated in the South and East, at the border with Russia.
Nobody's right, if everybody's wrong.
Russia will walk all over them. And in the end ... take over all of the Ukraine.
This situation kind of reminds me of “Duck Soup” but with the potential for really sad consequences
Yes, then there is this from today:
March 17, 2014, 04:21 pm
NATO plans to bolster Ukrainian forces
By Kristina Wong
NATO officials dont expect to see near-term military stand offs with Russia as President Vladimir Putin appears poised to annex the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, but are planning to bolster Ukrainian forces in the long-term, a NATO official told the Hill.
NATO plans to help Ukrainian forces build capacity via joint exercises, advice and other unspecified things, the official said on background.
Although the official did not specify exact exercises, U.S. soldiers are planning to conduct an exercise in Ukraine this July, according to the Army Times.
Exercise Rapid Trident 2014 is expected to take place near Lviv, Ukraine, and will involve units from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, Lt. Col. David Westover Jr. told the Army Times.
Westover said the exercise will focus on training for peacekeeping, not repelling an enemy invader.
As of today, the plan is to train a U.S.-Ukrainian combined battalion headquarters in a Field Training Exercise with a peace support operations scenario, Westover said in an email Friday to Army Times. Exercise planning will continue until we are told otherwise.
Meanwhile, NATO forces have bulked up in the region. The United States has sent 12 F-16s fighter jets and 150 airmen to Poland to augment a U.S.-Poland training mission there, and has sent six F-15 fighter jets and a KC-135 refueling plane to augment a mission to protect Baltic airspace.
NATO has also deployed an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft to Polish and Romanian airspace help monitor the situation in Ukraine.
On Monday, the U.K. announced plans to send additional fighter jets to bolster a NATO mission to police Baltic airspace.
I hope that will provide reassurance to our Nato allies in the east, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told members of the British Parliament on Monday.
The aircraft will arrive by late April as part of the long-enforced NATO mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
We are doing everything we can to reassure our NATO allies about the protection we offer, Hammond said.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-strategy/201017-nato-plans-to-bolster-ukrainian-forces#ixzz2wGDR4jS1
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1853 all over again?
They don’t need to worry, Øbama and Kerry have their back. Oh, wait ...