Is it just me or is Putin playing the Russian hand as straight as could be in Ukraine?
With the UK press and media, and the rhetoric of various international premiers and foreign secretaries casting him as the bad guy, almost clamouring for violent conflict I can see Russia’s point.
OK, so as a “sovereign nation” Ukraine has rights not to be invaded (even threatened) by its powerful neighbour. But Crimea is a special case.
Geographically, thanks to Ukraine being split in half by the Dniepr, and the Crimea being further separated by an isthmus out into Russian waters, the Crimea is only part of Ukraine because of special circumstances. Originally bequeathed as a gift by Kruschev [*], the home of the Russian Black Sea navy as well as many ethnic Russians and Tatars, and a strategically significant territory overlooking the Kerch channel from Russia into the Black Sea, Crimea has always been a special case subject to special international conditions and agreements, before and since the break-up of the Soviet Union. People are humans, sovereign nations are just lines on maps after all.
I’m trying to imagine Scots Nats threatening British citizens and assets in Faslane or Leuchars with violence, and not expecting the UK government to assert its interests, yes vote or no.
Whatever the strategic economic and military power plays going on (which they clearly are), Russia’s not spilled any blood yet asserting its interests in Crimea, unlike the last few months’ events in Kyiv. Let’s keep it that way, and turn down the rhetoric please.
[Post note - I see today Thursday, the Crimean parliament has voted for Russia - the fact the arrangements include a Crimean parliament tells us it's not as simple as Ukrainian sovereignty?]
[*] Paraphrasing from Wikipedia :
On 18 May 1944; [under Stalin] the entire population of the Crimean Tatars was forcibly deported.
On 19 February 1954; [under Kruschev] Crimea decreed to the Ukraine as a symbolic gesture.
On 20 January 1991; [under Ukrainian referendum] Crimea upgraded to an Autonomous Republic.Since 1992; autonomy vs self-government compromised as part of ongoing agreements to be part of Ukraine and partly fudged around both Ukrainian and Russian “shared” naval interests there and Crimeans being “permitted” to hold Russian passports.In 2014; By constitutional means or revolutionary coup in Kyiv, there is no way a Ukrainian government can determine the status of Crimea, without the agreement of both Crimea and Russia. What’s popular in Kyiv in 2014 doesn’t govern Crimea.