Russian Forces Take Over One of the Last Ukrainian Bases in Crimea

The assault on Saturday was a larger and more dramatic military operation than at other installations where Ukrainian forces have capitulated steadily in recent days as Russia declared its formal annexation of the region.

Comments: 253

  1. We should be looking for ways to de-escalate the situation, and Russia's agreement to O.S.C.E. observers in eastern Ukraine could be part of that. Worst case scenarios are grimly satisfying to frustrated Cold Warriors, but they would be extremely destructive. We should remember the lesson of Christopher Clark's "The Sleepwalkers" about the period before the Fist World War: many uncoordinated actions and misunderstandings, put together, can lead to a catastrophe beyond anyone's imagination. Members of Congress should remember that before the score political points in the anti-Russian resolutions that are being drafted.

  2. From a guy who lived through the Cold War, let me tell you how it works. You get to make lots of noise, You can even tell the other guy that you'll bury him or that he has to tear down his own wall. But you don't fire any missiles because that would be suicide.

  3. It always depends which period of history we will look into. Why WWI and not WWII? Maybe the latter provides a better lesson? How can you be so sure about your parallel?

  4. Using the labels of WWI, WWII and the Cold War for what conflict may develop now really don't apply at this point as Russia is isolated (it is not part of a global spanning coalition, no Warsaw Pact) and its expansionist aims are not driven by a purported ideology like Communism (which can appeal to others in faraway countries). Its nationalistic goals towards empire can be related to events leading to those great wars such as Hitler's annexation of Sudetenland and claims to be a protector of ethnic Germans but Putin is unlikely to find allies like Hitler did in Mussolini, Stalin or Tojo.

  5. Another message from Putin.

    "We should be looking for ways to de-escalate the situation..." David Keppel

    Are you kidding? We talk, Putin disregards and invades.

    Get it now?

  6. R., perhaps you can help me understand just how the United States could have prevented Russian annexation of Crimea. With nuclear threats? The blunt fact is that this is a lot closer to Russia than to the U.S. and we would have to take unimaginable risks to stop it. The best we can do now is try to prevent it going further, and having international observers in eastern Ukraine could be part of that. Why talk instead of "act"? John Kennedy could have answered that in October 1962, and if he had instead taken the advice of the hawks, we might not be having this conversation.

  7. David: I think you mean well but I have a feeling that KGB Putin is going to do exactly as he desires. He has an agenda and currying world opinion is not part of that agenda. Putin has been poking his finger in the eye of the USA for years. Think that ' red line ' incident and Snowden's leaked NSA secrets have just emboldened him. Ukraine' s recent turn to the West was more than his bruised ego ( over the fall of the USSR ) could tolerate .

  8. R, David answered you quite well, but I will say that if you want to take action, this former Marine will be quite content to let you go to it.

  9. In retaliation Obama de-friends Putin on Facebook

  10. The funniest comment, by far.

  11. Watch Crimea lose tourism, then have to negotiate electricity, gas and highway access through Ukraine to Russia. Ukraine still has all the cards, Russia drew a 2.

  12. Or a bridge/tunnel could be constructed at Kerch to link with the Russian mainland on the other side of Taman Bay. As much as I disapprove what's been going on, I don't think Moscow is doing this blind.

  13. What cards are you talking about, Tina? Ukraine is on a verge of bankruptcy. Money promised by IMF and the U.S. to prop up its economy is still nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed leaders are suffering from an extreme case of verbal diarrhea: Threatening to close Russian border and introduce visas ( millions of Ukrainians are currently working in Russia ), raising money for Ukrainian military through text messages while there are not even enough mattresses to accommodate current subscripts, claiming that Russians own them billions of dollars for the soviet property, saying that Ukraine is prepared to take the 8th spot in G8 if it is still available, and other such nonsense.

    Crimea might indeed lose tourism for a couple of seasons but this pales to what awaits the Ukraine. Yatsenyuk has already postponed signing the economical part of the agreement with the EU, claiming that it would hurt the Eastern regions (the exact thing that got Yanukovich overthrown). If Ukraine is to get the help form IMF, it is sure to come with serious austerity measures that will put to test people's patience already running low. If you think we've seen a revolution in Ukraine this winter, wait and tremble over what will happen when people see their already meager pensions fall, subsidies cut, and all other prices go up. And while you're at it, don't underestimate the thirst for power of ultra-radical groups that are now heavily armed with weapons stolen during the protests.

  14. Why should the Crimea looe tourism? This is a minor matter but it reveals a lot of wishful thinking among the comments here. People from Russia, who anyway dominat Crimean toursim will love to go there. Western Ukrainians will avoid going there but not so ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. They will get the electricity and gas from Russia and Eastern Ukraine as before. Do you think that the Ukranian government will dare to stop that? Guess what the retaliation by Russia would be.

  15. "R., perhaps you can help me understand just how the United States could have prevented Russian annexation of Crimea." David Keppel

    First, both Bush and Obama misunderstood Putin, but Obama had seen Bush's error when he made the "reset" and, for starters, withdrew US antimissile missiles from Hungary and Poland.

    So, the leader of the free world should restore those antimissile systems immediately and resurrect moribund NATO with US leadership. NATO's sole mission was to counter Russian aggression in Europe, which occurred in Georgia and now Crimea.

    Without these measures, expect more Russian aggression while Obama talks!

  16. ABMs in Poland and Hungary would do almost nothing to counter the number of ballistic missiles that Russia has; in theory they could be used to defend against a few missiles shot from Iran or N Korea and in practice, they may not offer any defense at all due to implementation problems. Putin would undoubtably use their presence to proclaim US encroachment and as a justification for further invasions/occupations.

  17. Washington finally asserts its superpower after years of declining to use it. But it could not have found a worse venue for it. It is willing to risk another cold war when it needs the cooperation of Russia in super important issues like Iran. The rationale is the sacred cow of the holyness of borders many of which are artificial creations and it prefers this ikon to self-determination where the Russians have the moral ground. Russia is a proud nation which won World War II for us with a cost of 30 million lives. It's easy to get into a confrontation but has anyone in Washington considered where this can lead to? If Washington wants to draw a red line, then it should make it clear that it will protect the Ukraine from a Russian invasion but it should back off from Crimean self-determination.

  18. KJ - you seem to know more about missiles than Putin does, who opposed the development vehemently.

  19. Let's not be fooled by this. Russia is playing a long game against weak opponents.Being unable to solve his domestic problems Putin is doing what all failing statesman do...rally the people in a foreign adventure! If I were Moldova or Latvia I'd be looking over my shoulder.

  20. Before Putin, there was Yeltsin, who ran the economy into the ground and was an incompetent drunk. When Putin took over, he improved the standard of living for many and was widely praised for that. By exploiting Russia's oil reserves like never before, he remained popular. He has gotten more and more autocratic over time, and thus the demonstrations. But, bottom line, if you ask a Russian whether s/he's better off now or under Yeltsin, s/he will credit Putin every time. Putin is getting points at home for what he's done in Crimea. But he isn't desperate to do more as you suggest.

  21. My prayers are with those who are caught up in yet another conflict through no fault of their own, and with that in mind, my warmest thanks go to the people doing all they can(our diplomats and President included) to find non violent solutions to this newest unrest in such a long list of them worldwide.

    For those who suggest a more aggressive, and potentially deadly, boots-on-the-ground-approach as opposed to what is being currently done; please be so kind as to provide your footwear and uniform size. I, and I'm sure many others, would be more than happy to begin assembling 'your' travel outfit.

  22. It appears you missed the news that the US has professional military now, it means people willingly join it. It happened few decades ago.

  23. Paul, what's your point? That people volunteer to serve their country in the military, so it's fine to thrust them into harm's way without seeking every other option? No prayers needed for them? They signed up for whatever?

    That's what people were saying while thousands of our soldiers died in Iraq. Not to mention the much larger number of Iraqi civilians who died, never having done a thing to us. For what? Is the US better off? Is Iraq?

    I'd think you'd be willing to forgo more of that kind of thing. I know I am.

  24. there are some positive things that are emerging from this mess:
    - NATO will find a much surer footing and purpose now
    - No one will ever again misjudge Putin for a reasonable, civilized leader
    - No more resets
    - Ukranians will find common purpose and a uniting cause
    - Mr. Obama will be prevented from gutting military ompletely

  25. Many of us that don't give a hoot about the Ukraine also never thought Putin was reasonable. Also, a reset from what? POTUS Bush looking into Putin's eyes and finding him a man? I think we did that, but the fact that Putin is crazier than thought is just one of those things.

    As to Obama gutting the military, he is hardly doing that. I know, as a former member of the US military, that I have some issues with specifics, and of course it is correct to debate the move at all. I am open to being convinced that the move to reduce our forces is not prudent. However, I will not make common cause, ever, with your Slavic centric concerns.

  26. NATO will realize it needs to respect Russian security.

    People will judge Putin for the serious defender of Russian security that he is.

    Ukrainians are about to have their own massive problems with their neo-fascists.

    Our military budget is probably double what it should be.

  27. It would be better if EU countries increased their defense spending instead of expecting the US to provide the Defense. Well one day you will be on your own so you had better start spending on your military now. The US needs to close some bases in Europe and retreat to our shores. We have wasted too much money in Europe with little thanks for it.

  28. "ABMs in Poland and Hungary would do almost nothing to counter the number of ballistic missiles that Russia has"

    This would send a powerful message, and if followed up by NATO resurgence, would make a real impact. Putin resented these antimissile systems, for good reason.

    They could help deter his attacks!

  29. Paraphrasing myself, an ABM shield in Poland and Hungary would be a waste of money and an excuse for Putin in his imperial expansionism - it would be better to put that money into additional NATO ground forces to be stationed in Poland and Hungary, something like the NATO Rapid Deployment Corps but perhaps permanently stationed in East Europe instead of being involved with NATO actions outside of that area. Conventional ground forces would not threaten the current nuclear ballistic missile stalemate as a pseudo-ABM shield would.

  30. No, it would do the exact opposite, it would start an arms war, raise tensions, and move the world closer to disasters it does not need. How do you suppose anti-ballistic missiles affect troops on foot in Crimea? They don't.

  31. Let Putin hit up his oligarchs for money for defense instead of London real estate as the stock market crumbles. An arms race is the last thing he needs.

    Plus the Europeans having been through this once before with middle east oil will now start developing alternate sources and have even begun so.

  32. Hillary is the only one who gets to go all Godwin without consequences, I guess. That idiotic comment of hers (comparing Putin to Hitler) shoudl disqualify her from ever holding higher office again.

  33. R. You have to be a Wall Street Journal subscriber to read that article. I agree with Ms. Clinton, however, that in certain ominous respects Putin is behaving very like Hitler.

  34. In eastern Ukraine small groups of "pro-Russian demonstrators demanded a similar referendum to the one held in Crimea on March 16".
    Perhaps Putin's next game will be to foment unrest in eastern Ukraine by having - peaceful - demonstrators urging for a referendum on their secession, while OSCE observers are in Ukraine. What could the OSCE do, if met with such demonstrations? Their voices can't be ignored!
    Kiev has to do a good job to pacify their pro-Kremlin citizens.

  35. Ukrainian forces saw no point in resisting russian onslaught, when their bases were taken over by mob rule.
    For many Ukrainian servicemen, the annexation has divided friends and families. Soldiers, who have lived in Crimea all their lives face enormous challenges. If they remain loyal to Kiev and want to stay in Crimea, it is not appealing. It wouldn't be easy to find jobs. Moving to mainland Ukraine with their families will not be easy neither.

  36. j. von, I did not see your comment before posting mine regarding why the Ukrainian military has been quiet in the face of Russian aggression.

    Thank you for your insight!

  37. Maybe someday enough people with multinational/ethnic roots will be connected enough they won't fight each other just because their politicians ask them. Maybe.

    V. Bitter you replied earlier you are an ex-marine. I say thanks and also thanks for your common sense comments.

  38. But there is a body of work that says German aggression was the root cause of the 1914-1918 conflict and it wasn't simply a series of mistakes. There was also a WW2 that had one side claiming it was simply defending its fellow ethnic people who were being mistreated by others.

  39. After Bismarck left the German government, the Imperial WIlhelmine regime began planning for war, there's no doubt. As it happened, though, Germany gave the Austro-Hungarian Empire the so-called 'blank check' to invade Serbia, an invasion which triggered Russian guarantees. This was exactly what Bismarck had been crafty enough to prevent (consolidation of German power in Central Europe provoking a reaction from Russia, Britain and France). Then Imperial Germany compounded matters by violating Belgian neutrality to attack France, thereby ensuring its verdict as 'aggressor' for all time.

    Everybody really should read Putin's speech in full from this past Tuesday. He lays out very clearly the Russian position in far clearer terms than the policies of the U.S. and EU. I can't praise that speech highly enough. It's not quite Gettysburg Address (at least in translation), but it is still quite powerful.


  40. Belbek, Crimea is where the story is written from. Crimea is now Russian. Ukrainian troops are non-Russian. They need to get out. Just like in the Ukraine, where the prime minister signed up with NATO. NATO forbids foreign troops - Russian - in NATO areas- therefore, Russian troops need to get out, or war will ensue. These seem to be two standards here- succession by Kosovo is ok but succession by Crimea is not. NATO can bomb Russian oriented Serbia but Russians cannot shoot at US oriented Ukrainians in Crimea. As the US media pumps up these stories, war, and nuclear war at that, looms..

  41. The US bombed Russian oriented Serbia because they were committing atrocities and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. It wasn't on some made up charges as it was in this case.

  42. I guess you missed the story how the KLA has butchered Serbs and blown up Orthodox churches. For a while we had the good sense to put the KLA on a foreign terrorist list - we should have kept it there.

  43. There were plenty of atrocities committed by the KLA but there was no comparison between the number of people killed by the KLA and the Milsevic campaign against the entire Kosavar Albanian population including many children.

  44. So that's two deaths and a couple of injuries in a Russian invasion of a region in her near abroad with a pro-invasion Russian majority.

    How does that compare with recent American foreign interventions in terms of justification, deaths and yes overall success?

    Yes I understand that Putin is a bad man (ex KGB after all) who violated international law and is leading the Russian people (with their enthusiastic consent) down a dark and dangerous path.

    But in terms of the overall success of the operation. you can't help but be impressed.

  45. After March 20, 2003, there is no longer any 'international law' to violate, as Putin wisely alluded to in his March 18 speech to the Duma and Federation Council. (Unless there was a trial of Bush, Cheney and other figures of the Junta for war crimes that I somehow missed.) Now we're back to the law of the jungle, a jungle in which Putin is the tiger and America but a paper imitation thereof. (Although you wouldn't know it from reading all the keyboard wawrriors on this thread.)

  46. I gotta agree some bobw. And Bush/Cheney told us Iraq would be over in no time and their oil would pay for it all. But I don't believe the Ukraine thing is close to being over either. Bush looked into Putin's eyes and saw a good soul thinking it was himself.

  47. In addition to the Ukrainian soldiers, there were dozens of reporters and cameramen inside the base. Maybe that's why the Russians crashed through the gates -- they wanted to give us some made-for-TV drama because the whole stand-off has been pretty boring. And maybe we should take a lesson from them: despite what the media and politicos are suggesting, this is really a tempest in a teapot.

  48. March 22, 2014

    How about the big guys giving their media shout outs for - A Cease Fire - and give pause. Ukraine and Russia besst lay down weapons to
    give reasonable time to sort out everyones best future.

    Not having effective leadership and direction results in both sides losing control of the brute force of turf battles - and that is just a waste -

    This not Obama or even the Europeans to direct going forward - for now
    those in command realize that all must talk effectively to calm their streets and military installations.......

  49. I do not know what surprises me most, the stupid and illogical actions of Putin or those defeatist commenters in the West that say his actions are acceptable.

    Of course, many Eastern European countries resemble kleptocrazies run by gangsters and oligarchs. Institutions are often weak. Still, they are run by at least native politicians, not by foreign ones, which makes it all easier to take.

    These countries can now be expected to start arming themselves.

    I pity the Russian speaking minorities in other Eastern European countries who will now be considered as potential traitors.

    Does Putin realize that the same arguments that he uses could be used against Russia as well? How about plebiscites in areas of the Caucasus? What is Russia's historical claim on Kaliningrad? And in the Far East, how about all those chinese immigrants? Could they organize a plebiscite as well?

    It is bad enough that one big country thinks itself above the law. If a second one starts to think the same way, very nasty situations can easily arise in which no one wins.

    Putin has been very badly advised in this all. He can and should pull his troops back.

  50. This was theatre. The Ukrainian troops needed a face-saving way of surrendering to the inevitable, so the Russians arranged it for them--or maybe even with them. Apparently, many of the Ukrainian troops serving in Crimea have applied to join the Russian armed forces, rather than leave with their families to live under the Kiev regime.

    Let's remember that the Crimeans turned out in droves to vote overwhelmingly for Crimea's secession from Ukraine and for a merger with Russia. Presumably those voters included many Crimean troops and their families. They're not about to start a fight with the Russians.

  51. Given the region's historical ties with Russia, I am not at all surprised that a majority of the people in Crimea voted for secession, but a result of 97% is not an overwhelming result, it's a result that suggests a combination of fraud, voter suppression, tampering with ballot boxes, and a boycott by those who viewed a referendum organized by a foreign occupying force as illegitimate.

  52. The election was overseen by 135 international observers from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland, including members of the EU and national European parliaments, international law experts, and human rights activists--not to mention an unknown but probably large number of foreign and domestic journalists. No one reported any voting irregularities, voter intimidation, or manipulation of the results.

    Sometimes things just are what they appear to be, no matter how much we wish they were otherwise.

  53. If President Lincoln had ordered a referendum in 1860 to determine if the south should depart from the Union. Would that have prevented the civil war?? How about Texas held a referendum to depart from the union or for that matter Alabama. There are enough crazies for that to happen in the Southern States. So the world map should be redrawn by referendums everywhere. Give me a break.

  54. If Putin were as rational and strong as he imagines he might not resort to thuggery and smirking, which satisfies weak souls. It is not Ukraine's fault that Putin after decades wants to show up Khrushchev for giving Crimea to Ukraine when Putin was a babe. Putin says he wishes to remake history by correct his forebears. Putin acknowledges what he calls an error by the Soviet Union. One cannot admire this weak man's methods.

  55. Putin is a desperate crazy dictator. He has never had any intention of being a modern leader. He has never changed, but he has seriously underestimated the people of Ukraine. The protest against puppet Yanukovych frightened Putin due to the size and persistence and discipline of the crowds. Westerners may have underestimated how thuggish Putin is, but don't underestimate the lengths to which Ukrainians will go to defend their country. Putin is lost in a fantasy world of WW2. He will not succeed.

  56. Ukrainian soldiers have been evacuating their bases voluntarily. The force being used by by Russian forces suggests that Russia is trying to provoke a violent response from Ukraine to justify further Russian military action against Eastern Ukraine. Crimea is gone. But further Russian movement against eastern Ukraine will require a firm response from the West.

  57. I am shocked that Kiev left its soliders in Crimea without some sort of evacuation plan. I believe the soliders were told that they would be removed from the area. However, Kiev never bothered to follow through and give andy king of orders for an orderly departure.

    The fault is Kiev's. They are supposed to have departure plans, and as the article stated the Ukrainian soldiers were frustrated at the lack of help from their government.

    But the government in Kiev is incapable of helping anyone, including itself. These are people who have never run a government and have no idea what they are doing other than to go to the US and EU with their begging bowl.

    The fact that the Kiev cannot evacuate a handful of soldiers from Crimea does not bode well for other parts of the country which need some sort of governance. These people in Kiev have no idea what to do in the rest of the country, and are overwhelmed with debt and bills coming due. I read somewhere that civil servants and military in some oblasts have not been paid. I guess they are waiting for the EU and US to hand them them money.

    If I were the Ukrainian soldiers I would wash my hands of Kiev and sign on with Russia. At least I would get paid and have a place to live. On these bases and town it looks more like a sheriff's eviction with possessions sitting out in the street than some orderly withdrawal which Kiev has an obligation to do. But I suspect there is no one in charge -- certainly not the Defense Minister

  58. The Ukrainian government is far from perfect, but you do realize that the referendum was 6 days ago, don't you?

  59. Ahh but the new government in Kiev has been in place for several weeks. Surely they can do more than find their way to their office and get office supplies.

  60. @Judyw
    So, you are saying that the new government in Kiev that has been in place for three weeks should have, as one of the urgent matters, drawn up plans for how to evacuate military personnel from territory of Ukraine, which Crimea was until a few days ago. And you expect people to take you seriously?

  61. The Bear has awakened from its hibernation . Get ready for the Bear's version of the Reset Button.

  62. Why do you think the Ukrainian troops in Crimea have generally chosen not to fight? Nobody can judge them for that. If they fought, they wouldn't stand a chance against the Russians' superior force. But then, during WWII, Russian soldiers and sailors in Crimea fought tenaciously against the German invaders. They faced overwhelming odds. And yet, they fought. They fought to the death, they fought for their country. Before they died, they inflicted significant losses on the enemy.

    The Ukrainian soldiers know that Crimea is more Russian than it is Ukrainian. The truth is many residents of Crimea view the Ukrainian military as an occupying force.

    I salute the Ukrainian soldiers for not being willing to die for the politicians in Kiev who are using these soldiers as pawns in a propaganda war.

  63. You do realize that the Soviet soldiers who defended Crimea during WWII included Ukrainians.

  64. You need to remember that the same brave Russians who defended Crimea had earlier sided with their Nazi allies to invade and dismember Poland.

  65. I salute the brave Ukrainian soldiers and sailors in Crimea who are making discretion the better part of valor. Hmm, I wonder why things didn't go as smoothly for the U.S. when it violated international law and invaded and occupied Iraq back in 2003. Putin is schooling us on how it's done!

  66. NATO needs to establish additional troops in Poland, Hungary and/or the Baltic States whose mission would be only to act within Eastern Europe and not be sent off to other areas of the world such as the Rapid Deployment Corps presently are used. This would be much quicker to do and be much more reliable than a limited ABM shield in that area would.

  67. Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states have their own military. What is the problem with them using their own troops? Keep NATO out of this -- any NATO troops used should be nationals of the country. NO US TROOPS!!!

  68. NATO represents a coalition of nations for their common defense. An attack on the mentioned states would bring the US into the conflict because of the treaties that form the basis of NATO. It would be better to have a very large force on those territories as a deterrence and so that a response would be immediate. Having US troops stationed in Europe as part of NATO during the Cold War proved to be effective in stopping the further expansion of the Soviet Union into Western Europe, such would apply now as well.

  69. I am sick and tired of the US always doing the heavy lifting while the other NATO members cut their military budget and spend on their country, citizens, infrastructure. NATO has outlived its usefullness - time it was disbanded. It is time each country was responsible for its OWN defense intead of asking the US taxpayer to pay for their defence. NATO is just another way to suck money out of the US taxpayer for the benefit of the Europeans. I don't want to pay for Europe.

    Nobody asked the US taxpayer if we wanted to spend the money to be the defender of the Free World - guess what a lot of us are sick of paying for Europeans who cut their military budget and are lucky to own and airplane. But expect the US taxpayer to support them. Well it is time we left NATO and closed our bases, brought our troops home and let Europe take care of itself.

    If Russia conquers it. that is their problem and NOT MINE.

  70. Wow, impressive. Another nice, minimally hurtful move by what seem to be very disciplined Russian military. The Russians are going to secure Crimea, this is clear. Very good, carry on.

    Meanwhile expect the coup government in Ukraine to be stymied trying to rein in the neo-fascist militias, gangs, and other armed groups that ran out the elected President.

    People who act like this are not given to obeying the law peaceably:

  71. Russian fascists themselves invaded another sovereign nation and you call that professional?

  72. Correct. A lost of fascists have been popping up in the Western Ukraina recently. With the blessings of the EU and the United States. In about 2002 Austria was boycotted by the rest of EU for two or three years because the ruling coalition including a party with nationalist penchants. Quite far from the real kind who is forming part of the ruling Ukrainian coalition. It is not denied even by leading Western politicians. As a consolation they are telling us that the breed can be contained. Stakes in ethics are now being traded like other goods on the Stock Exchanges. Sometimes they are going up, presently they are going down.

  73. Freebot - I use "fascist" in the political sense and as admitted to by the interviewees in the video link I included: neo-fascist Ukrainian demonstrators lighting unarmed police on fire with gasoline bombs.

    I don't use it in your sense, "People I don't like." Word definitions matter.

  74. It's time to be proactive with the Ukrainian situation. Rather than alluding to vague sanctions, we should declare the mass deployment of Russian forces along Ukraine's borders a tacit act of war, demand that RF forces be recalled to their peacetime bases and define and enumerate crippling date-specific financial sanctions that will be levied should Putin fail to do so. The alternative is for President Obama and the NATO leadership to go down as the Neville Chamberlains of the Twenty-first Century in the face of Russia's unbridled aggression. Next up - the Baltic states.

  75. Keep an eye on Transnistria, a breakaway portion of Moldova on the western border of Ukraine. There is already a contingent Russian troops there, and their (mostly unrecognized) government has asked Russia for "fraternal assistance."

  76. Please be sure to go to your local army recruiter and sign up for military so you can defend Ukraine.

  77. I'm sure you don't have to worry about finding "your local army recruiter" to join the US forces, do you Judyw?

  78. Finally the EU has met its match in Vladimir Putin. Crimea has been in Russian hands for over two centuries. The EU and US want to establish hegemony over the world in general and Europe in particular. now their dreams of accomplishing a takeover like Hitler's aggressive plans have been destroyed. The Russian people can't be cowed by US "sanctions"; these are people who survived 900 days of siege at Leningrad and beat the Nazi war machine. Sanctions and blocking trade will come back to haunt the EU and the US as Russia turns eastward to China and India. In the end those sanctions will hurt us more than we know. Foolishness by President Obama and the congress with their EU handmaidens won't accomplish anything other than shooting themselves in the foot--ouch that hurts. The big corporations that drool over expansion have now got a terrible case of indigestion and ultimately it may prove fatal as the rest of world learns how to get along without the US and the EU. Yes Mr. Obama they can.

  79. There are few nations on the face of the earth that has had more potential than Russia throughout past and recent history. But at every turn at critical points in their history they have turned inward and squandered every opportunity to become a real influential power in the world. First Peter the Great defeated Karl XII of Sweden in 1709. Sweden suffered a defeat and it took Sweden 100 years to recover from that defeat but it recovered and became the model democracy it is today. Russia from that moment of triumph just continued to subjugate/murder millions of people throughout Asia to become the largest country in the world and so it has continued to this day. The Russians had no interest to improve living conditions for people in the countries they conquered or dominated. Germany lost both WW1 and WW2 and today the people of Germany live a prosperous life and is a model democracy. Russia; they are still mired in blaming the rest of the world for their problems and they are still in the mode of stealing countries by force and intimidation. There is no hope for Russia now or in the future. Russia can only succeed by murder, intimidation and mayhem wherever and whenever critical action is required.

  80. I'd rather have the US and the EU being the major powers than the totalitarian Russians and Chinese. If you think they're so great, move there. The US isn't perfect, but we don't usually get thrown in jail or murdered for engaging in peaceful protest. I'm thinking about the Medicaid protesters in Georgia who were arrested. Maybe some of these right wing states could hook up with Russia. Little minds think alike.

  81. What are you drinking? The idea of a US vs Russian confrontation is absurd, but if the US DID decide to confront, tho I am against war and to the left of many, I would put my money on the US --- What's going on here is really like Milosevic and the Serbs bullying the muslims - They had the weapons left by the Yugoslav (pro Russian) army and the Muslims had none. They got away with this slaughter because Bush 1 let it happen instead of humiliating Yeltsin - a cynical example of realpolitik, until Clinton stopped it - Putin is a lot like Milosevic, the kind of bully who quickly becomes victim when you stand up to him, and loses any sense of reality because he speaks only to adoring, partisan, and not especially well informed people.

  82. Note that there has been a military casualty already: Ukrainian soldier Serhiy Koturin died when the base in Simferopol was stormed on March 18. Ukraine’s Defence Ministry says that the attackers were in Russian military uniform. Serhiy Koturin was 37; His wife is due to give birth to their second child in two months.

    The human rights situation in Crimea is grim. Russian-sponsored groups are taking hostages. A Crimean Tatar man was found dead. See the website of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: Also Human Rights Watch:

  83. I, as a US citizen, see no national interest in this issue, at least in terms of addressing it with military action.

    To those that do, I must wonder why they want to be so quick to be tough guys when the military of the Ukraine hasn't bothered to fight the Russians themselves? If they had, I still would not change my mind, but I wonder why American right wingers would be so quick to action given the lack of resistance by the Ukrainians.

    I will be happy to stand corrected about the Ukrainian military.

  84. The question why "military of the Ukraine hasn't bothered to fight the Russians themselves" is outrageous. Ukraine east part is a mix of Russians and Ukrainians. Millions. Can you imagine what would happen if any shooting started??? We in CE Europe know. We have the memories of neighbors killing neighbors by tens of thousands. Ukrainian people proved enormous maturity and responsibility. This is Europe, 21st century, and Ukrainians have every right to be part of it. They prove it again and again.

    Yes, there are some lines not to be crossed, but this is not some brawl in a remote prairie town of several dozen people. There you can have all the noble shooting you want. Here you have literally millions of lives at stake. Get it, please.

  85. The Republicans are talking tough, particularly our Senator John McCain, but to tell you the truth, I don't know any politician, right or left, who wants to send the troops in. Like you, and all other polite Phoenicians, I will be happy to stand corrected if I am wrong.

  86. There were reported cases where Russian soldiers have demanded Ukrainians to surrender or a school or daycare next to the base will be "taken instead". In many cases Russians also used civilians as a frontline (eg soldiers would come behind the backs of civilians).

  87. Use of American or NATO force is off the table as an option, putting the Ukrainians at a considerable disadvantage when confronting the Russian Army. There will be no calvary on the way to save them. Having our ambassador in Kiev boast we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine by dropping off some MREs and then running for the hills only makes this look worse. There are other deterrents, short of using force and more than sanctions, that could be considered but are also apparently off the table. For example, in the summer of 2008, the Georgians shot themselves in the foot by needlessly provoking the Russians into invading Ossetia, Despite their stupidity, we shored up the Tbilisi government by airlifting military supplies to the Georgians. This involved lots of US boots on the ground (ostensibly to facilitate the airlift) and a message to Putin - stop at Ossetia. And he did. But under our current policy a reprise of this action is seen as too provocative. Would it be?

  88. Curious why you would think that the US or NATO would send troops there. Are you wanting WWlll or something.

  89. @Kevin: Just wondering if WJC's signature on the Budapest Memorandum means anything.

  90. Gee Kevin, why don't we just disband NATO, tear up all our treaties, abandon the Baltics, Taiwan, and Japan. That would really give peace a chance, wouldn't it?

    Diplomacy, like parenting, sometimes involves setting limits and threatening sanctions, backed up by the implied threat of more forceful actions. Some bullies only understand the threat of force. That's how their worldview works.

  91. With all the front-page hysterics over the Russian invasion' of its former territory, it must be said that the total casualties so far do not come close to one set of 'collateral damage' resulting from a CIA strike at "suspected terrorists" usually involving annihilated wedding parties.

  92. Before the Nazi invasion of Poland, Hitler was widely celebrated in Germany and abroad for his "bloodless" conquests.

    Give it time, Robert....

  93. Pretty handy when you can annex a country and then take over their military installations without having to build anything. Wow, what a money saver. Man those Russians know how to take over a country. I'm still curious though. Why do the Russian soldiers still coveri their faces? Are they afraid of being recognized or something?

  94. I wondered about the face covering as well. Maybe some of the same people responsible for the slaughter in Maidan. Of course I am just speculating.

  95. I wonder if the people in Kaliningrad, the former Konigsberg, would prefer be again part of Germany rather than Russia. Should they vote?

  96. Russia has made sure of that not happening by moving in enough Russians to intimidate the rest of the population.

  97. You could say the same thing about the Polish territories that were once part of greater Germany, East Prussia (capital Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad) or Silesia. Should they vote to rejoin Germany? The problem that most of the people that once lived there were "displaced" or as the Germans call them "Vertriebenen". Unlike what most Americans think, history in Central and Eastern Europe is VERY complicated. After WWII, the Donau Schwaben, ethnic Germans that had lived along the Danube for centuries, all the way to Romania, were in the best case "displaced", in the worst case killed, in what we would today call ethnic cleansing. The Crimea still has a Russian ethnic majority, maybe they are better off with Russia? We don't have these problems in North America, mostly because the original inhabitants were wiped out by the European settlers. Any vote to secede New York state, to join the Mohawk Nation, would fail due to the number of voters. Yet, who really has the rights to the land? Any fair person would have to say that the Mohawk do.

  98. I'm sure that the Russians there would not mind getting EU citizenship and the benefits of German citizenship. I feel like Germany should call the referendum. I mean, their population is falling, and they clearly need a Baltic port.

  99. It's one big game of RISK. The Russians must feel like they are winning the lottery right now by getting all that free territory with no losses. I hope it does not motivate them to move further into Ukraine.
    The red army takes a card , So who rolls next ?

  100. Well as I recall, in Risk it was basically impossible to take and hold either Europe or Asia, too many bordering nations, took too many armies to conquer it all at once. So no cause for alarm here.

    Now if North America gets South America like they've worked on occasionally, that would be a huge leap towards the win, just three chokepoints to defend.

  101. The Ukrainian military is a victim of Kiev's new regime. Many of the soldiers felt alone and abandoned by the Kievan government. But what were the realistic options for Ukraine? With the current events in Ukraine unfolding and the Russian military imposing its will on the Crimea region, many developing nations may begin to think if this at all would be possible if Ukraine had held on to its nuclear arsenal?

  102. A tell-tale statement in the Herszenhorn-MacFarquhar article exposes the nub of America's and Europe's moral problem in the crisis--which is devastating: "the United States Mission issued a statement saying it still considered Crimea part of Ukraine, noting that only Russia disagreed." Whatever foreign service or CIA bureaucrat conceived these words, by forgetting that real people are involved who actually might count, the case was lost, its ethical basis destroyed. NO, US MISSION, THE CRIMEAN PEOPLE IN AN ELECTION DISAGREED! The idea that individual people don't matter, that it doesn't concern us what actual Crimeans think or how or whether they vote destroys the moral case for denying that Crimea should be a part of Russia. And the wording of that statement betrays its composer as an ideologue out of touch with the reality of human beings living in an actual place..

  103. It would be a lot easier to agree with you if the vote in Crimea had been set up by a consortium including the Ukrainean government, the various interests groups in Crimea (Russian speakers, Ukrainean speakers and Tartars) and maybe the United Nations. Instead the vote was orchestrated quickly by the folks who declared themselves the governmental of Crimea backed by Russian troops wearing masks. Unless you buy the Russians argument that this was an emergency to protect the Russian speakers from killing at the hands of Fascists (without any evidence of such a threat), this operation was a mockery of democractic ideals.

  104. What would you think if Texas held a referendum to secede from the Union. Would that be ok?? I dont think so. We have a constitution just like Ukraine preventing that. But of course a constitution dont mean anything to a criminal state like Russia.

  105. "What would you think if Texas held a referendum to secede from the Union. Would that be ok?"

    Irrelevant, but on the other hand has sallerup ever heard of the USA Civil War?

  106. I can only image that what's going on right now in Crimea would be a lot more straight-forward and easier to get sorted out had it not been that up until only about 20 years ago Russia and Ukraine were both part of the common Soviet Union.

    I guess what this demonstrates is that dramatic geopolitical changes may appear clear-cut on maps and embassy designations, for the people living in those places it's not quite that simple.

    Maybe this is a good lesson for all those global strategists out there whose stand over their big maps and feel that those borders they redraw are more than just merely lines, irrespective of the memories, lives and allegiances of the people and clans within them.

    From the middle east to northern Africa to Asia, it's the ordinary people who pay as those at the top struggle for power from the safety of their secure headquarters.

    If the "leaders" were the ones to be forced to wage these battles face to face with their opponents, rather than sending innocents out onto the streets to spill their blood for them, might not the world be somewhat more a peaceful place to live.

    Most people probably care more about living their lives in peace and finding happiness in whatever they can, and probably don't care that much about the what flag is hanging over the post office.

  107. While the European Union, the USA, Russia vie for power over the Crimea and the UN stands idly by Christians. Síros are brutally beheaded, cowardice and atrocities are committed against them in favor of the ignorance of religion and nobody does nothing, not even the president of Syria, this time this coward out of power and the international community can not be missing this this reality. Follow saite containing the address of every barbarity, (strong images).

  108. I don't see anything wrong with letting a strong leader reunite his own people to the motherland!
    The Russian people just need a little living space... a little lebensraum...

  109. At last: something to throw the missing airliner off the top of the news.

    Shame on cable news -- CNN and Fox both -- for wasting our time beyond saying: "Airliner lost. Not yet Found. They're looking. Maybe someday they'll find it. We'll let you know."

    Instead, we've been missing good reporting while the Putin tries to reassemble the Soviet Union.

  110. Oy vey. To think that at other places on this thread, accusations are being made that pro-Russian trolls and sock puppets are posting. Why would they need to given this idiocy ("reassemble the Soviet Union")? Or, rather, how could they stop themselves from laughing themselves silly.

  111. There are few nations on the face of the earth that has had more potential than Russia throughout past and recent history. But at every turn at critical points in their history they have turned inward and squandered every opportunity to become a real influential power in the world. First Peter the Great defeated Karl XII of Sweden in 1709. Sweden suffered a defeat and it took Sweden 100 years to recover from that defeat but it recovered and became the model democracy it is today. Russia from that moment of triumph just continued to subjugate/murder millions of people throughout Asia to become the largest country in the world and so it has continued to this day. The Russians had no interest to improve living conditions for people in the countries they conquered or dominated. Germany lost both WW1 and WW2 and today the people of Germany live a prosperous life and is a model democracy. Russia; they are still mired in blaming the rest of the world for their problems and they are still in the mode of stealing countries by force and intimidation. There is no hope for Russia now or in the future. Russia can only succeed by murder, intimidation and mayhem wherever and whenever critical action is required.

  112. Perhaps you should compare the crimes committed by Russia over the last 300 years with those committed by the United States rather than with the Swedish accomplishment in this higly competitional field. I leave it to you to do the calculation. Being a small nation now and then Sweden proved quite competent in invading their neighbours and causing them great harm. Twohundred years ago Sweden was fortunate to get a French general as king. Carl XIV Johan did neither bother to learn Swedish nor to continue the Swedish tradition to fight Russia. Perhaps you will also recall how the formerly Danish province of Skåne was made Swedish by brute force, which included the prohibition of speaking Danish. Not so different from what ethnical Russians experience in the Ukraina.

  113. This is a reply to Gerhard - one of the commenters to the original post: Russian is not prohibited in Ukraine. Half of the country speaks it with no problem. However in some parts of the country Those speaking Ukrainians would run into problems. Even in Kiev I was denied service at a coffee shop once because I used Ukrainian. To illustrate the point further - in Crimea there is 1 Ukrainian school for about 2 mil of population (with a waiting list of 2 years).

  114. Gerhard - Swedish accomplishment my foot. You remained neutral during WWII while most of the world united against the fascist threat. Other nations bore the brunt of saving Europe from the Nazis while the Swedes made money on the war.

  115. Earthlings are such a primitive species...

  116. Hungary, Czechoslovakia, ...Crimea - the script has always been the same. If we had aircraft carriers to maneuver and troops in Europe to mobilize we would be players, not observers. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. When Netanyahu call Obama another Neville Chamberlain he knew history and whereof he spoke. Note that two days ago the President's NCAA bracket made headlines. Too bad his military position in Europe did not. What does this say to the other nations that look to us for strength? It will take us a long time to dig out from this hole of strategic impotence. Indeed, Obama is making us into the mold of the European nation strategically as well as economically. I wonder if all the union officials who so strongly supported the President truly want to follow him down the road that takes America to second-class status in a world that still has to stand up to bullies and thugs like Putin. If this is the "reset" of US-Russia relations then woe be to us.

  117. Admiral Painter: "This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it."

  118. OK. Russians are digging trenches along the border and taking control of Crimea. It has been clear for whole week by now.
    The question is what US/EU and the rest of the world, including Russia, are going to do with the Ukrainian nazis in Ukraine?

  119. First they would need to find them - and that is a task in itself since every Russian knows they exist but noone is able to actually see one.

  120. I hope Putin orders his T-80s to roll over the neo-Banderites on their way to the Polish border. At least i'll get to see a lot of heads explode on this board. That will be well worth the price of subscription.

  121. I realize that most of our WWll Vets have passed on by now, but don't we still have historians in this nation? For those of you who don't know, this is right out of Germany's handbook.

    When Hitler set his eyes upon a new country to incorporate into Germany, he started by preparing the battle field for a one sided war. He sent his military in under cover as immigrants. They moved in to the state to be overtaken with an obvious chip on their shoulders, and began to rile up anyone they found that also had a chip on their shoulder. They then provided the moral support, weapons and organization to bring about riots. They also saw to it that those injured by the riots were specific targets thought to be dangerous to their agenda, but able to be labeled as innocent Germans.

    As the riots increased, Germany would announce that they needed to 'protect' their citizens from this other state, and would begin by negotiating for as much as they could get. Regardless of how the negotiations went, they would ultimately move in with full military force and annex the state into their own.

    Folks, we're looking at the beginning of WWlll.

  122. Elizabeth - You just can't make up history to suit your personal beliefs. Your comment that Hitler "sent his military in under cover as immigrants" is simply false. The places that he incorporated into the 3rd Reich had for a long time contained large populations of German-speaking people (the Sudetenland, Austria, Czechoslovakia).

  123. Elizabeth,

    History lost is history repeated. Your comment is spot on, even though it is lost as witnessed by replies such as JerryV's and so many other posts on this comment board. They cannot be any more on the wrong side of history, yet in their arrogant ignorance they blithely move past that which is obvious to those of us who lived through it.

    As one familiar with the history of that period, I see in the present the replies and false hopes of appeasers that lived the past, just as I witness again the transgressions of invaders who put a contemporary spin on an old tale.

  124. Francois - Just because I correct false history claims does not demonstrate my arrogant ignorance. Hitler was Austrian and his incorporation of Austria was welcomed and cheered by masses of Austrians. Show me any evidence, please, that Hitler sent his military in under cover as immigrants, as you and Elizabeth seem to claim. It was not needed. And like it or not, Russia has controlled Crimea for hundreds of years. The Russians have never forgotten their defeat by the French and English more than 150 years ago in the Crimean war.

  125. Not to be insensitive to quite possibly very real sentiments on here, but have others noticed a surprisingly pro-Russian sentiment from commentators here and elsewhere online? The same was true of Pussy Riot articles. Trying to decide whether these are authentic or paid sentiments, and whether they are coming from Russian expats or current citizens (see eg things like the person claiming Putin is now a strong protector of the motherland, etc.)

  126. No doubt there are all of the above. You will not hear alot of anti-Russian rhetoric coming from anyone out of Moscow. They will be censored or arrested. I would be surprised if the average person in Russia even has access to the NY times. Expect alot is propagandd although some delusionally sincere. In Russia you keep your head down unless you are very brave and then you will be arrested or worse.

  127. Yeah, it's not just on this site. Also on UK sites. Don't think anyone knows how many paid 50-centers the FSB uses. My impression is that there are a lot of:
    1) Organised, ideological, Russian nationalists who agree with Putin and are envious of Europe;
    2) European ideologues who are so strongly anti-US (the soixente-huiters) that they will deny Europe and back Putin;
    3) folks in the UK from both the Marxist left and the anti-EU right who are so irritated about the current state of affairs in the UK that they support Putin as a means of attacking the EU;
    3) folks in the States who are a curious mix of recycled 70s leftists, rightist isolationists, and very weird conspiracy theorists.

    These folks seem to flock to the comment boards, so there appear to be a lot of them, but I think that by exposing their lack of logic and humanity they are actually alerting normal thoughtful folks to the danger they pose.

  128. I totally agree and am also unsure of the motivation, but I believe most of it is not authentic. I spend a lot of time online reading news and comments, and would not have expected the amount of pro-Russian posts I'm seeing all over the web.

  129. Putin will make another grab, with or without observers, if he can. His tactics are that of spy. His troops go in after dark not in the open. Contrary to what your readers understand about our capabilities they are not nil. Our will is not with the game. We don't have to go nuclear, nor do we need to fight Putin in the open: he would lose against NATO air power. He can't afford it politically. We need to find the will to fight a low-intensity irregular war. It doesn't cost much: organize the Ukrainians; get their neighbors in the act; send in raids into Russia to get at the bases causing trouble; keep tightening the "Anaconda" plan with economic sanctions; find funding for alternative pipelines to Europe to compete with Russia; encourage backdoor arrangements with business leaders in Russia to shift to the west --- but don't let them manipulate or become a black market for Putin's interests; bring Ukraine into NATO and the EU; and, organize a defense league of eastern European countries to fight future Russian aggression. Eventually, this will drive Putin and his ilk from power. Then, invite the Russians to join Europe, as Obama, Merkel, and others have tried to do.

  130. It is certainly true about Putin as spy. He has been planning this invasion for a long time and has enlisted spies on many levels to infiltrate and destabilize Ukraine. The big problem for his plan has been the lack of violence response on the part of the Ukrainian people against his aggressive tactics. This has weakened his pretext of invading Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians. The aggressors from the beginning have been from Putin and Russia. Even the most violent factions on Ukrainian side (a minority of right wing nationalists) have been restrained when compared with Russian aggression. Putin's feverish popularity does not reflect well those in Russia who support him, which is apparently a majority. The aggressive and abusive behavior towards the Tatars, Ukrainians and the Ukrainian military by the proRussian banderas and military forces in Crimea are also a sorry reflection of a brutish thug mentality that Putin's government has fostered in it's population. Talk about devolution.

  131. Big problems with inviting Putin to join Europe is that Russia
    wants a major role and USA wants to monopolize it for itself.
    There is basic conflict here. Weak leadership of Boris Yeltsin
    allowed Russia to be a door mat for Bill Clinton. Putin, having
    a historical perspective, wants Russia to play a major role.
    The flaw with Obama's foreign policy is that he considered
    Putin like Yeltsin and tried to yank Ukraine away from
    Russia assuming Putin will protest and do nothing.
    For Putin that was a red line- stand up or be counted out.

  132. Wow! The Putinists are out in force, I see. Haven’t seen so much pro-Soviet sentiment since the late 70s. Of course, NYT commenters are a highly skewed sample.

    The obvious incompetence and inexperience of the White House foreign policy team has led to an embarrassing, dramatic fall-off of support from the UK, EU, and other international diplomatic and foreign policy communities. Even in the States, folks from Defense and State are shaking their heads and backing away in confusion and dismay.

    Here, an opponent who obviously has no compunctions about using military force has dismembered a nation with whom an agreement has been signed to protect their territorial integrity. They are massing large numbers of regular military formations on that nation’s borders, threatening further dismemberment. They have conducted the largest parachute drop of troops in decades as a demonstration of their capabilities.

    And in response, the US President makes a statement promising not to use military force, thus giving a green light to further aggressive actions. Such irresponsible naiveté has not been seen since the 30s. Allies around the world are now asking “Will the US now abandon Estonia? What about Poland? What about Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines? What is the foreign policy of the US?”. And no one can answer them. This is clearly leading to greater global instability. Not a good thing.

  133. I agree with the "obvious incompetence and inexperience of the White House foreign policy team" assessment, which seems indistinguishable in its utter stupidity from the team preceding. "Irresponsible naivete" is a kind description.

    Yes, what exactly is the foreign policy of the US? How does it serve the long-term US interests? ...I think you're suggesting that we should be providing military protection to the entire world from Estonia to Japan. I'd be fine to consider that if we would charge all these countries protection money.

    Until recently I despised Putin for stifling liberty and freedom of speech, and for enabling mafia-like oligarchy rob the people of Russia. But, to my own chagrin, I rather admire what he has done so far with Crimea. He stood up for his people and self-determination (this time). He did that with minimal casualties. He united his nation, and without a doubt he would win any election today in his country.

    No, I don't like Putin. However, I see nothing in him that I don't see in the US leadership, except our arrogance and hypocrisy are even greater. Our actions only legitimize Putin more, squash his internal opposition, perpetuate conflicts, and risk the ultimate calamity.

    Hyperbolic references to 1930s are not helpful. We need to get out of the 20th century, and our leadership is holding us back.

  134. @Alex- he rigged the who process; 40% didn't turn out to vote in protest and because of intimidation by the army.. so much for your "standing up for his people" nonsense...

  135. It's time to announce that the US will help western Ukraine build a nuclear power plant and uranium enrichment. If Russia can arm Syria, Iran , Venezuela and every other two bit dictator than we can arm the fascists. Let the Cold War begin.

  136. You'll be safe in Michigan, so why not?

  137. Ukraine already has nuclear power plants...ever hear of Chernobyl?

  138. jb- I'm not so sure that anyone will be safe anywhere. We and Russia have huge numbers of ICBMs with nuclear warheads aimed at one other. None of us, including Harry, will be able to hide. This is a time for firmness, coolness and diplomacy - not a time for sabre rattling.

  139. Whatever else you may think of this situation, here are some plain facts: We encouraged and applauded the Ukrainian coup. That coup is what divided Ukraine and Crimea. Crimea, being primarily Russian in decent, did not feel their future was best represented by this new government, and local militias took over. Russia saw this as an opportunity to possibly reclaim a territory that was theirs before. The people of Crimea have voted, enthusiastically, to re-join Russia. We condemn the vote and say we don't recognize it, yet we were the ones that supported the coup that started it all in the first place. At this point, the best thing to do here would be to call off the stale punitive slaps to the "evil Russians" (and let's face it, more than a few of you are guilty of getting "cold war fever") and help the new Ukrainian government get on it's feet. Let Crimea re-join, since that is what the people voted for. After all, if we support free and democratic people, we need to support them, even if we don't like their choices, they're still theirs to make. If Russia says they'll take care of them, then let them. In all honesty, it would make things easier for the new Ukrainian government to settle in and get things going, at least without a lot of internal resistance. I think that would be the best solution here.

  140. Yes.. Did we also encourage expansion of the EU. Did we not talk endlessly about missiles in East Europe..expansion of NATO...Most of Russia's oil to Europe flows though did we expect them to respond

  141. It wasn't a coup. Coups happen suddenly and generally involve the military and/or security services seizing power. This was a popular uprising that began when Yanukovich initiated the use of excessive force against the Maidan and built up over three months until his own allies folded on him and that result was ratified by the Rada.

    Those local militias didn't step out until Russian troops did the taking over. The referendum was done after those forces had intimidated anti-secession sentiment and was watched by observers not from a credible organization like the OSCE but politicians from parties like Jobbik, for whom ultra-nationalist authoritarians like Putin are a role model.

    Sanctions against Russia and assisting Ukraine economically are not mutually exclusive steps.

  142. It wasn't a "coup". It was the overthrow of the democratically elected President by extra-constitutional means. The ethnic Russians in Crimea did not accept the overthrow of their elected President. Their elected leaders decided Crimea would have a better future as part of Russia and the Crimean people overwhelmingly ratified that decision.

    Neither the ouster of the President nor the secession of Crimea were legal under the Ukrainian constitution. But the argument that there was anything undemocratic about the process in Crimea is pure propaganda.

  143. It's shocking,that fascists have come into a European government, with encouragement of US and Western Europe. (If radical leftists had been in the vanguard in the maidan, Yanukovych would have been America’s “democratic” hero.)
    Also shocking is their cluelessness to fact that Russia would not be good with that, or with the loss of its only warm-water port.
    US has been contemptuous of Russia., pushing NATO to Russia’s borders, and moving to station “missile defenses” (really first-strike weapons) in Eastern Europe.—assuming Russia could do nothing about it.
    Well, today, in Crimea, Russia can do something about it. It’s not nice, but nor 100th as destructive as what the United States has been doing.
    See the detailed analysis of Ukraine events at: Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection at thepolemicist_dot_net

  144. Fascism? Capitalism? People generally don't live on isms, they live from home to job and back home again. The pro-Putin government of Yanucovych was staggeringly corrupt, leaving the nation bankrupt and depressed. The popular revolt was the result of the fact that Yanucovych was politically tone deaf to the realities of the people, otherwise he would not have been abandoned by his military and impeached by the parliament.

    Contrary to myth, Russia is in absolutely no danger of being militarily invaded from the West (who actually wants Russian real estate?) and to pretend otherwise is to play into the propaganda that justifies Russian aggression into Europe. The Russian ethic of might-makes-right is still in full play both domestically, and where it can pull it off, internationally. And duly note: because the U.S. has made catastrophic blunders (Vietnam, Iraq) does not mean that many of us who opposed those disasters are about to remain silent when other nations engage in aggression as well. And let us not forget that the Soviet system under Stalin (within living memory) was responsible for more death than even Nazi Germany. Old habits die hard.

  145. Putin would have you believe all this fascist nonsense. The fascist is Putin -- a cult of personality, a fascination with military, an imperial destiny of his people, who are entitled to lord it over a little brother ...

  146. Jonathan Baker: Please desist, you too, from the shopworn nonsense. Three of the key ministers including the "interim" prime minister placed by the USA into power in Ukraine are members of the Fatherland party of Ms. Tymoshenko who was correctly imprisoned for brazen theft and who knows how much corruption during her rise as oligarch, then political figure.

    Read a profile of her and her cohort in an accompanying article here in the NYTimes, published a few days ago.

    The two "governors" immediately appointed by the putschists to an eastern and southern oblast are among the most vile and evil oligarchs in Ukraine. One can go on and on about this.

  147. It's amusing to watch all the Putin apologists here scramble to rewrite their opinions as events continually prove them wrong. Will they ever admit their errors? Not a chance.

  148. The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kiev's current government -- and the protesters who brought it to power -- are, indeed, fascists...Ukraine is home to Svoboda, arguably Europe's most influential far-right movement today. Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok is on record complaining that his country is controlled by a "Muscovite-Jewish mafia". In Svoboda's eyes, gays are perverts and black people unfit to represent the nation at Eurovision, lest viewers come away thinking Ukraine is somewhere besides Uganda.

    The far right Svoboda party, whose leader has denounced the “criminal activities of Jews" and which was condemned by the European parliament for its “racist and antisemitic views”, has five ministerial posts in the new government, including deputy prime minister and prosecutor general. The leader of the even more extreme Right Sector, at the heart of the street violence, is now Ukraine’s deputy national security chief.

    And this is the government you and the President and John Kerry and Hilary Clinton are supporting?

  149. @Coller- sizable? you mean about 10-15% which matches the number of votes they got in the last election.. so they got some ministerial posts in the current gov't as long as they don't get anymore and are kept in check, that's acceptable- this is politics you know, not a school election.

  150. Cooler's comment is right on target.

    Further, the USA has been actively supporting these groups. The USA nquestionably played a decisive role through what means is not yet clear, but will be, in the overthrow of the Yanukovych regime, then the installation of the current mix of puppets (Fatherland party officials) or of an uncontrolled fascist/racist element, as Cooler notes.

    He is correct, it is the echt western Ukrainians who, much like the Nazis before WWII in Germany, blame everything on the "Jews". They are vile, not dissimilar from the Nazis of the 1930s. And here the USA is supporting them in a putsch.

  151. Putin & Co have followed an extremely pragmatic agenda here. Seizure of the Eastern Ukraine is not far off.
    What puzzles me is (Obvious, experience, and well used Russian troops are wearing no insignias? Granted, they'd like everyone to believe these we-armed, battle ready troops are just 'spontaneous Crimean militias).
    Isn't going into action, be it combat or something short of actual fighting, a war crime?
    Not that Putin cares a fig about that. He knows he'd got the only hand worth playing, in this game.

  152. He thought the nameless troops would come in and be shot at immediately by the Ukrainians, and then the "real" Russian troops could come pouring in to protect the ethnic Russians In Crimea. But it didn't work and he just looked foolish.

  153. I realize Russia tends to be heavy handed ! But we should consider that Crimea might well turn out to be MORE prosperous for the Crimeans than when it was dependent on Ukraine whose unelected government is an indecisive SHAMBLES scrambling for credibility at best !

  154. Victoria Nuland gave it an 'F' grade ...

  155. The amount of Moscow trolls in these comments is amazing. There's little doubt that much comments are from Russia, straight from Russia Today ilk.

  156. This has been an issue from the get go. We have neo communist/Czarists supporters here in the States, and I believe primarily from the extreme left wing. Sad that they chose tho keep their heads buried in the sand regarding Putin and the current Russian gov't.

  157. @Lou: It's been FOX news that has been drooling all over Putin and what a strong man he is compared to mom-jeans Obama (also accused of being a dictator but I guess a very weak dictator or something). FOX LOVES PUTIN.

  158. So, Moscow shut-up!
    Only we speak ...

  159. I have a naive question:
    Let's imagine this scenario:The situation quickly deteriorates and the eastern regions of Ukraine are invaded by Russia. It will not be possible to avoid any direct conflict between NATO forces and Russia.

    Are we willing (citizens) to send our kids to protect Ukraine?
    I am asking because I have a daughter in the army.

  160. No, defending Ukraine in practice means defending a bunch of neo-Nazis (Right Sector) and fascists (Swoboda). What an insult going to the war for those Banderites would be to the veterans of our Greatest Generation who fought, bled and died to stamp fascism out of Europe.

    I hope your daughter stays safe.

  161. Charles, what exactly is a Banderite and how long ago did you learn this term? I don't think I've ever heard it used in the US before. On the odd chance you actually aren't a plant from Moscow, maybe you should be reminded that millions of Ukrainians died fighting the Nazis in WWII as part of the Soviet Army. Also, lumping in every Ukrainian with the two right wing groups is ludicrous. Is America defined entirely by the Tea Party or the ultra-right wing that exists here as much as in Ukraine? I don't think so, and neither is Ukraine. The US should not send its children to fight Ukraine's battles, but that doesn't mean we should not support a nation fighting for its freedom.

  162. It would mean defending a government that contains a minority of right-wingers but that is backed by a Rada that was elected by the Ukrainian people and a Maidan that isn't majority right-winger.

  163. The Ukrainian forces suddenly found themselves in a dilemma with the putsch in Kiev and their friends and neighbors at the gates. The Crimeans and Russians are to be commended for their restraint and allowing the Ukrainian forces to depart with no bloodshed and as much dignity as possible.
    How dare those barbarians behave this way! One hopes these honorable men do not land in trouble on their return to Ukraine.

  164. Restraint? They shouldn't have been there in the first place. Putin was willing to start a bloodbath. The Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv prevented it by choosing not to engage militarily to the occupation.

  165. This isn't our battle...

    Can you imagine what we would have done if the Soviets had threatened us with sanctions when our own troops actually killed 4 of our own (and wounded several more) at Kent State who were protesting the Cambodian invasion?

    I didn't think so.

  166. This makes no sense. Putin invaded the territory of a a sovereign country, after Russia had signed the Budapest Memorandum guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial sovereignty.

  167. that was what, 40 years ago ? get over it ...

  168. To CD - The Budapest Memorandum was signed in 1994.

  169. Like a good neighbor Putin is there. This is so hard to fathom it is beyond belief, after working together for so many years the Ukrainian and Russian Navies never ever had conflicts until Mr. Putin had his latest testosterone shot. Just for the record, russia has spent fifty billion dollars on it's olympic showcase for all the world to see but has yet to allocate monies for a new naval base for their black sea fleet. No problem, they will just take what they perceive to already be theirs and spend their funds scaring their western neighbors. It would seem as though Mr. Putin is a farce to be reckoned with.

  170. As a matter of fact, it is important that Ukrainian forces withdraw from Crimea peacefully and avoid loosing human lives unnecessarily. The Crimea is simply finished story and maybe it should be that way, majority of people want to join or rather go back to Russia.
    I don't know why is usually avoided mentioning the fact that Crimea was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. by Presidium of Soviet Union whose president at the moment of transfer was Ukrainian politician Khruschev. Quote: "On 19 February 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union issued a decree transferring the Crimean Oblast from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic." Source: Wiki.

  171. It isn't usually mentioned? It is often mentioned. What is not mentioned is that Crimea was the homeland of the Tatars for centuries before Russia made it part of their national imagination. What if every country would use Russia's rationale to go for territory that has some meaning for it? We would have wars everywhere.

  172. How long will it be till the TATARS start popping off IEDs? And will they pop them off in Crimea, Moscow , or both?

  173. Thanks for understanding.

  174. Not too long ago, the Ukrainian people pulled off a peaceful revolution that ended with the Godfather's made man tossed aside like so much scrap metal. The Russian Mob didn't like this turn of events so they broke all international conventions and nation jacked Crimea while wearing the masks of bank robbers no less. Rather than stand behind her President, Sarah Palin (and other fifth columnists in this neighborhood of our incredibly shrinking planet) celebrated Putin Power over People Power. As Vlad basks in his fifteen minutes the slow burning fuse of gathering sanctions will topple his regime just like they did two decades ago. Never mind the ash heap of communism, Stalin's criminal empire is still slouching to perdition.

  175. What you call a 'peaceful revolution' I call a 'fascist putsch'. Why are you supporting fascists (Swoboda0 and neo-Nazis (Right Sector and Patriots of Ukraine)?

  176. A young senator Obama assisted in disarming the country per treaty conditions to which Russia was a signatory, how cool was that?

  177. Russia in 2014 is nothing but a gas station.

    (The only reason they even know hydrocarbons have value (just like Qatar and Saudi Arabia today) is because of Englishmen, Americans, and Germans from a hundred years ago.)

    I wouldn't be putting any money into their future.

  178. Dear J. Connors,
    Don't underestimate them. Russia was a major player before America existed. Gas stations tend not to have that many nuclear missiles and various other weaponry. And the options going forward are: A) a peaceful, stable Russia, B) an aggressive Russia that gets successfully placated, or C) a Russia that goes down in flames and takes the northern hemisphere along with it. We should hope for (A).

  179. Why is the incident at the base the lead in this story, instead of the fact that the Russians conceded to the deployment of international monitors in Ukraine?

    The article suggests that tensions are rising. Weighing this skirmish against the Russians' concessions, I'm not so sure that's true. In the first draft of this article, the two main developments of thee day were given more equal weight. Now, it's the skirmish that we'll remember while the Russians' concession fades into the background. Is the skirmish a sexier lead or is it really more newsworthy? I haven't a clue.

  180. That "Russian Force" you show right now on your web page is fewer in number than the city, state and sheriff patrols I encounter each morning dropping my kids off at school. Our Girl Scout troop outnumber these guys.

    I read a foreign story whose pictures showed some Russian troops gliding up a street surrounded by people smiling and clapping. Your charged words such as "smashing through gates"; "firing weapons" and "demanding" the "cornered" valiant opposition is overkill.

    You're trying much too hard to stir up our patriotic froth when all we want to do is easily afford next month's mortgage payment, and perhaps a dinner out.

    Give it up already; the Crimeans did so gladly.

  181. Your Girl Scouts carry automatic weapons and use armored personnel carriers? Where exactly do you live?

  182. KJ: Yeah, we're tough. Every single house we go to buys our cookies -- or else!

  183. Russians living in and constituting a majority of the population of Eastern Ukraine have as much a right to demand annexation by neighboring Russia as the Sudeten Germans had to demand annexation by neighboring Germany. One day it may be our turn, with Spanish-speaking majorities in California and Texas demanding reunification with their brethren in Mexico.

  184. Things are never black-and-white. The Sudeten Germans actually had a quite strong argument. I think one of the reasons Chamberlain gave up in München - despite the fact that the conditions under which the territory was transferred were very unfair - was that it would be very hard to ask British mothers to send their sons to die for the right of the Czechs to suppress the Sudeten Germans.

  185. Contrast how East Germany integrated with West Germany, to how Russia annexed Crimea. Pictures from Germany were filled with citizens on the streets breaking down the Berlin wall. Compare this with pictures from Crimea with military personnel in the foreground.
    As Russia flexes its military muscle, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those referendum voters are going through buyer’s remorse already.

  186. Who cares ? This is a media event. The question never answered is : "What do the people of the Crimea want ?" Likewise, "What do the people of Ukraine want ?" Still another cold war ? Highly unlikely. They are are pawn of the "super powers" who are in decline and only know military cold war solutions. What is America's interest in any of this ? So many question, so few answers...

  187. Let's remember that after masked armed gunmen took over the Crimean parliament, a referendum was scheduled for two weeks later -- two weeks! Ukrainian news channels were shut off. Russian news (and Yanukovch's news until he fled) spew hateful propaganda and lies that shocks the people I know in Ukraine for how vile and false it is. And then a referendum was held with streets full of gunmen. The two questions were do you want to be independent and join Russia later or do you want to join Russia now? Then they claim an incredible turnout when the 17 percent Crimean Tataras many Ukrainians boycotted the farce. Putin is shameless. Why does the world not condemn Russian extreme nationalism?

  188. Don't forget the other side of the coin: Kiev threatened to persecute anyone supporting the referendum and connection with Russia for treason. Many people were loudly against the referendum out of fear for their job.

  189. Crimea was a no brainer. The only warm port the Russians have in hands of failed state Ukraine. I am not a a friend of the Russian/Soviet governments having experienced first hand their ways. But Ukraine had 20 some years to get their act together and failed miserably. Just as have the post-Soviet Union Russia. There is nothing in the Russian history that inspires much confidence or hope for any kind of "democratic" way of governing. From Czars to Communists to a former KGB running the government--nothing much has changed there. The only change is that different people got rich this time, the corruption as it always was if not greater, and the ordinary people under a different boot than before. It will take a VERY LONG time to make any progressive changes in Russia, if it ever happens. Now, it remains to be seen if Putin will be satisfied with Crimea, taking a chunk of Ukraine, going after the Baltic Republics, or taking a run at Poland. If the later happens the war is on in Europe that NATO(i.e.. Americans will be involved in). I hope not, but similar things have happened in no too distant past. Russia is not doing well economically and one way to get over the difficulties to stir up "nationalistic feelings" as a justification for a war. Better be ready!

  190. Russia doesn't want to lose full influence on Ukraine. But now we see - it is inevitablemente. And Crimea is a compensation in this political game.

  191. It is my impression that the primary motive for the Crimea operation was a threat to the Russian bases there. Despite Kerry's denial it is clear that some of his underlings - such as Victoria Nuland - will stop at nothing.

    Even in Western Europe democracy is partly a 20th century invention. Compared to the rest of the world Russia isn't doing that bad. They will still need some time as the rule of law is insufficient but they are slowly advancing.

  192. Amazing how Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland controls everything that occurs in the world - is she a part of the Illuminati?

  193. The Crimea belongs to Russia now, and Ukraine is so under the influence of Russia that they can do nothing without Putin's approval; we have deserted them.
    Putin is saying he has no plans to invade Ukraine -- three weeks after he said he had no plans to annex the Crimea.
    President Obama and Vice president Biden are telling our European and Asian allies, "We won't do to you what we did to them."
    How dumb do they think our allies are? Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan are looking to the acquisition of nuclear weapons -- which Ukraine gave up because of our treaty that assured them the integrity of their borders.
    What can we do now? Put up the teleprompter and make a speech, then step aside while Putin takes what he wants.

  194. I remember playing the board game Risk. Ukraine was always the most difficult to keep. You were always pressured from the East and West. If a player spread his/her armies too thin, made too bold a move, it was key that another player hit them before their next turn. Putin can't get away with this bold move. And America has already taken its turn stopping tyrants. EU, it's your move.

  195. 'Putin can't get away with this bold move. And America has already taken its turn stopping tyrants. EU, it's your move.'

    Quite laughable.!!! America has always been in bed with tyrants and lapdog democrats like Maliki and Karzai. And EU making a move...what Morkel, Hollande could do. Do they have any alternatives to live without Russian gas!! Ukranians have been betrayed big time; lost their sovereignty and have to live under iron curtain for a long time to come. When your leaders and oligarchs are corrupted to the core and you got Russia in backyard, and FOLKS relied on untrustworthy 'west'.....annexation of Crimea was a writing on the wall. Putin is ruthless and Obama handed him the clout from Syria to Snowden...and Iraq to Egypt, Libya to Mali!!!! US has no morals to lecture Putin and not even in a position after a lackluster foreign policy on Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Mali....and Afghanistan!!!!

  196. Its a pretty safe Bet the EU will Cave and the US will be standing pretty much alone as always.
    But then again - don't we usually make the wrong choices ?

  197. The "turn" I am specifically referring to is America's military lead when Hussein took over Kuwait. EU needs to stand up, and not make sony threats like Germany has made. The EU

  198. This is pretty minor, I don't think any panic is necessary. I've been wracking my brain to recall similar circumstances, another military conflict where at least one man fired a pistol into the air several times, and one guy got beaten up pretty badly. I can't remember any military event that mild, but it is actually a lot less violent than many bar fights.

    By the way, the guy that got beaten up was probably a journalist. Russia hates journalists.

    Anyway I think the signal being sent here is for Ukraine to get it together and ship out already. Crimea isn't theirs anymore, it was nice while they were together but it just wasn't meant to be, they'll have to move on, plenty of fish in the sea and so forth.

  199. New secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council is Andriy Parubiy -- co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU). Ukraine's new deputy secretary of national security is Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector group. The far right Svoboda party, whose leader has denounced the “criminal activities of Jews" and which was condemned by the European parliament for its “racist and antisemitic views”, has five ministerial posts in the new government, including deputy prime minister and prosecutor general. The leader of the even more extreme Right Sector is now Ukraine’s deputy national security chief.

    Recent Ukrainian history - 22 January 2010, the previous President of Ukraine "Orange Revolutionary" Viktor Yushchenko awarded to Hitler-collaborator Stepan Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously). The award was condemned by European Parliament, Russian, Polish and Jewish organizations.

    This is a quote from wikipedia of an order given by the organization that was led by Stepan Bandera. OUN-B ordered: "Moskali, Poles, Jews are hostile to us must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime: deport them to their own lands, importantly: destroy their intelligentsia that may be in the positions of power ... Jews must be isolated, removed from governmental positions in order to prevent sabotage, those who are deemed necessary may only work with an overseer... Jewish assimilation is not possible."

  200. @ Cooler, to be sure WWII exposed and revealed to humanity the ugliness of war; and how choices had to be made for survival. Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and is not the norm in Ukraine. Here are some facts to consider! During the Maidan uprising no synagogues were vandalized! Extremists are a fact of life and are in every culture and society on earth, but they do not comprise the majority of the Ukrainian population; as indicated by their poor showing in the upcoming Ukrainian election. In Crimea, why did the Jewish population boycott the referendum and believe their future would be better served under a Ukrainian government? Now for Bandera, yes he was an anti-Semite; but to Ukraine he fought against a Stalinist Russia who exterminated 7 million Ukrainians in the famine of 1933. History teaches and reveals to humanity that atrocities have occurred to and perpetuated by every race and culture; we as a people must evolve and learn from our past mistakes; and humanity must learn that people can change and they are not chained to their past historical misdeeds.

  201. From the pictures and video it looks like two columns of four Russian soldiers (eight total), a commanding officer or nco, and one armored personnel carrier took a Ukrainian military base "by storm." One gets the impression that it was staged and that the Russian troops really did not expect any resistance--and that the Ukrainian (Crimean) soldiers had no intention of resisting.

  202. I believe the Ukrainian Soldiers and sailors acted correctly. they were cut off from the mainland, their air bases were occupied, I'm sure Russian Migs were flying overhead. They knew that it's best to regroup and fight another day, rather than be slaughtered, locked in their bases with their backs to the sea and no avenue of retreat. Why would you provoke a fight with overwhelming odds against you? this isn't a Rambo movie, there weren't 20K Ukrainian troops just across the next hill, or right offshore, these troops were surrounded. I truly feel sorry for most of them. Because of the isolation of Crimea, the Ukrainian Army and Navy personnel were for a large part Crimean natives. they were allowed to serve in Crimea because they were from Crimea and their families were there, others from the mainland were allowed to move their families to Crimea. Now, what do all these soldiers, sailors and their families do? they are truly facing a tough decision, they can move, but to where? Or they can stay in Crimea, get Russian Citizenship and either joint the Russian military, or go out and try to find work, which I would expect that in the condition Crimea is in now, would be impossible. Tough choice. I feel sorry for them.

  203. There seem to be a lot of apologists for Putin, talking about how US / NATO pushed so hard after the collapse of the USSR - I'm confused, did we have to push Poland or the Czechs that hard ? These were independent countries with their own culture before wwII and after the USSR collapsed they wanted to get as far away from dysfunctional Russia as possible - They embraced NATO and even if it is not a perfect fit it is far better than the alternative - If the Russian people are unhappy with their present situation they should turn their anger on their leaders, who have avoided responsibility by blaming the west ---

  204. Too bad we can't rewind 8 weeks when Russia was lining up for a huge financial aid package for Ukraine that would have been never ending.

    Let's remember Iran before doing anything stupid (again) in Ukraine.

  205. Amazing to see some admirers and seemingly supporters of Putin on the Times. Some seem impressed with his tough guy image. I'm not so sure he's all that tough, but he is the big boy on the block and Russia is a huge country. Putin and previous leaders could have used Russia's vast resources to become an economic power. Over half of their money to fund their gov is petro dollars and yet they actually import food most years. While that may be enough for now how secure do petro states think they will be in 20, 40, 50 years?

    And some in the US want to build facilities to liquify our natural gas and ship it on boats to Europe, just to stick it to Russia. Like it could be done by next year (well maybe with Chinese and S Korean steel). Wonder which country is going to sell off all their oil and gas first? Does the first country to do that then control the world? And these masters of the universe are hell bent on mining as much MT coal as possible and ship it China. The good old low sulphur MT coal. And big money even controls how us Montanans can influence this mining. Who wants to live in a town with 60+ dirty coal trains a mile long rolling through every day when you've never had more than a dozen trains a day? Digging up huge strip mines of cheap, dirty coal to burn in China. Now that's a business to get behind. Coal trains from south-central MT rolling almost 1000 miles along the tracks through every town along the line from central MT to the Pacific coast in WA.

  206. Putting geopolitics aside, the whole operation by russian military since the start of the crisis was just brilliant. The speed and organization of blocking Ukraine ships and military bases with no casualties was something extraordinary. And there were 10s of thousands of armed soldiers on both sides.
    And Putin once again proved himself to be one of the greatest politicians of our time. You can call him corrupt, you can call him an aggressor, but this actions proves one thing- he puts interest of his country first.
    He very well understood that this actions may affect financial interests of his closed circle and even his personal financial interests, but nevertheless he acted on what he thought would be best for the country.

  207. I think the referendum voters ''For'' Putin were simply asking to survive the coming invasion.
    I am NOT fomenting war or any such thing, but just imagine Mr. LillyPutin's reflexive response if an East German/Soviet Base had been stormed into with armored vehicles and people armed with military gear?

    Were he the Party Chairman, he'd have launched bombers and nuclear-tipped rockets over the pole and asked questions later.

  208. Obama's sanctions rhetoric is 'too little to late' !!!

    Obama has been indecisive in Syrian conflict; gifted the control to Putin and Rouhani. And the results are horrendous for Syrian folks as well as diminished status of Washington in world affairs. Obama didn't call el Sisi's coup d' etat a coup rather sided with a brutal despot keeping US track record straight.

    Arab spring has become a nightmare for folks in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Ukrainians have been betrayed big time and Ukraine tragically is at the brink of losing her sovereignty. Western hollow slogans of sanctions won't dilute a stubborn and arrogant Putin. Crimea is already gone and Kremlin's cold war mindset seems to be active again and Ukraine COULD expect a military intervention from Putin. Georgians' already had a taste of Russian onslaught. Where is the US foreign policy and how EU has undermined Russia!!!!

    RECIPE OF DISASTER!!!! Poor Ukrainians!!!!

  209. I was shocked to discover that Crimea was ever made part of Ukraine . The Black Sea and Crimea is vital to the fate of all Russians, creates uneasiness between Russia and Turkey, and was the major factor in Russia's disastrous participation in WWI. Russians didn't have much power in the old Soviet Union and a lot of their misery can be blamed on Ukrainians like Kaganovich and Khurschev and Georgians like Stalin and Beria.

    We should be worrying about "appeasement" and NATO mobilization for an RC Nazii-type invasion of the rest of Ukraine right now, Close neighbors to Russia, from Finland and the Baltic countries through Poland, Slovakia, Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey all have a bitter history in their relations with Russia and if NATO isn't implementing a multinational contingency plan that mobilizes the armed forces of all these countries right now, then we are right back to where we were when Chamberlain came back from Munich braying about "peace of our time."
    Wishing for peace doesn't always make it happen.

  210. There seems to be a lot of talk that involvement in Ukraine is not in our national interest. The world economy is inter-connected, what happens in Europe affects us. Europe, especially eastern Europe, is dependent on Russian gas and oil. I was at a conference in Germany in 2006 and asked several German engineers what's being done about Russian dependence. The Germans are trying to replace Russian oil but can't, at least until alternative pipelines are built. If we increase shipments of US oil and LPG the price of fuels here will increase significantly; which is what Obama is planning to do. Ultimately the Keystone XL pipeline will supply part of that demand while driving prices higher here. The Germans want that oil. They could push to build a pipeline from Turkey supplying oil from Iraq and Iran but this takes a political arrangement with Iran, which is touchy; making friends with the US would be in Iran's interests, given the instability of Russia. If you want proof of the world influence on the US look at crude prices and the stock market over the past month.

  211. Where is the IMF(loansharks)? Not a soul cares unless there are either strategic metals or oil. let them eat salo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  212. Maybe the Russians can eat oil in place of food since they have plenty of that and the Ukraine was a major source of agriculture products for the Russian Federation. Unless of course Putin still plans on just grabbing all of Ukraine anyway.

  213. The way to ease tensions between Ukraine and Russia and the West is for Kiev to sign trade agreements with both the European Union and the Russian Federation becoming a sort of bridge between East and West and making all sides happy by staying in both the orbit of Europe and Russia at the same time . A win win for all the partiesl.

  214. How un-American! The U.S. would have bombed the daylights out of the base, killing a couple hundred civilians in the process. Interesting how Russia can carry out the accession of a country with minimal carnage. The U.S. destroys whole cities and kills hundreds of thousands protecting the democracy in a country. We have no right to judge Russia, after the destruction and carnage we left in the Middle East.

  215. the russians would have bombed their ethnic Russian brethren, that's why they didn't bomb them.. maybe they were short on bombs and ammo.

  216. Does anyone else think that the cadets of Nakhimov Naval Academy should have properly credited Casablanca as the inspiration for their protest?

  217. Is it just me, or does it seem strange that Russia is facing sanctions for making the two million people's dream come true in the most peaceful "annexation" in the modern history, while US is given a free reign to murder and pillage the entire world? Seems like a truly Orwellian logic.

  218. The Ukrainians who surrendered were cowards. They should have fought to the last man. This sort of thing could never happen in America as we have the Second Amendment. Everyone would come out of their houses with their firearms and shoot any foreign armed forces who tried to invade our country. It's a shame that Ukraine did not have a well-regulated militia and an armed citizenry.

    This happened because Obama is weak and Putin knows it. We should have bombed Syria and put a carrier into the Black Sea. If we had done that, Crimea would still be part of a free Ukraine.

  219. Could it be that Ukrainians surrendered because the vast majority of them do not support the unelected anti-Semite minority Neo-Nazi government? What we have to remember is that our media is playing geopolitics and therefore is extremely one-sided on the subject, thus, what is reported is very is much different to the reality on the ground. All my family in friends had to leave Ukraine and their livelihoods behind in the last three month because of continuing attacks on the Jews and other minorities. Putin might not be a friend of US or Israel, but in this instance, he is certainly a friend of the Jews.

  220. ~60% of Crimea are ethnic Russians who never had any real connection to Ukraine besides geography. That is why the vote to join Russia was large. Unfortunately many who disagreed like ethnic Ukraines & Tatars decided not to vote as the ballot had no "stay with Ukraine" choice. Of course armed irregular military (faces covered to preclude id) at polling places was discouraging.

  221. This is the silliest comment I have read here... You have no idea what is happening in Ukraine and you can not judge their soldiers... it Is easy to be a hero with a keyboard in your hands not with a machine gun pointed at your head... And concentrate on the US... Russia and Ukraine will figure everything out without your assistance... peace maker...

  222. I was initially strongly against the Crimean invasion. However, I wouldn't mind letting Russia spend billions supporting Crimea's finances, constructing a bridge to Crimea and replacing infrastructure from the Ukraine. The Russians have a declining population and a history of bankrupting themselves every so many years. Our policy should be to push back some when they overreach, but to generally let them self-destruct themselves.

  223. Latest news. Kiev wants to return the nuclear weapon. NATO will help Kiev.

  224. And what do you think Putin's response to that will be? I'm pretty sure it will push Putin to fully imbrace Iran. Do want want a nuclear Iran just to support aN unelected Neo-Nazi government? If anything we should be supporting Putin in an overthrow of this illegitimate government and should be working with him to Isolate Iran, not give it consessions.

  225. No one is thinking clearly about NATO expansion. We view it as "good" and bringing "democracy", western values etc. to new NATO mamber, who also get sucked into the EU. EU expansion and NATO expansion go hand and hand - and for a very good reason.

    The US must think carefully before offering NATO membership to a country. We do not think of the cost of NATO membership to the US. We see only the "good" parts - but we need to wake up to the bad parts.

    Article 5 which says an attack one is an attack on all. It obligates members to go to the defense of the attacked member. The Europeans have been cutting their defense budget to the point that they are not capable of fighting their way out of a paper bag let alone a major war with a well-armed opponent. Hence the US and US taxpayer must carry the burdern of Article 5.

    As NATO expands so does the US obligation - do we really want to defend far distant countries like MOldova, Estonia, Georgia, and for that matter Ukraine. The countries are not in our stategic interest - but it will cost the US billions to fulfill Article 5 and the help from Europe will be miniscule and near useless..

    We should think carefully about Article 5 implicatons for the US military before we accept a new NATO Member. Actually we would be smart to cease NATO expansion and try and get rid of some of the current member who are not in our National Security INterest. Do we want to further bankrupt our country to defense Moldova or Ukraine?

  226. The possibility of additional NATO ground forces, particularly US troops, in Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic States sure made you hot Judyw. That should be a good indicator of just how Putin would view such and how it would likely shutdown his expansionist plans. Thanks for the endorsement, Judyw!

    Its obvious you realize that it is much better for the US and European nations to work together in a coalition such a NATO in common defense than it is to drop US participation and disband NATO. Breaking up NATO would allow Putin to gobble up the smaller states, such as he is attempting with his invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine, and down the road it would undoubtably be more expensive both in gold and blood for the US to step in and help stop the Russian domination of Europe.

    Seems the sanctions that are in place and the promise of more are beginning to have an effect already - Russia will probably cancel plans to issue bonds to foreign investors as the interest rates that the Russian government/central bank would need to pay would be too great and that it looks like Russian consumers can look forward to a 7% inflation rate by the end of the year.

  227. KJ - I think NATO is the chief cause of problems today - coupled with the US self-annoited role as Policeman of the world, leader of the free world. We have bankrupt our country playing these roles. It is time we stopped and made Europe defend itself. We need the money at home. We should disband NATO or withdraw and let the EU run it.

    We should consider dismantling more bases in Europe and withdrawal of US troops. We must force the European to shoulder their own defense. If they are unwilling to do so and their country falls well that is life. I do not feel that the US owes Europe any more US taxpayer money.

    We spent enough on the Marshall Plan and once Europe was back on its feet we should have stopped the support. Now we must wean Europe off the idea that the US will always be there to defens them. If Russia takes Ukraine, I don't really care, who controls Ukraine is not our problem -- Europe has to deal with it not us.

    The only place right now we have strategic interests is in Asia and that where we should concentrate all our efforts. We should not let our pivot to Asia be distracted by some political squabble in Urkaine. Let them sort it out as best they can on their own.

    Ukraine is a basket case and a deadbeat country to boot. Let the EU spend their taxpayers money to put it back on its feet - but the US should not waste money on such things. Money to Ukaine is like throwing it down a black hole.

  228. Judyw - you just don't seem to understand that NATO is a collaborative effort and that all members input funds to it and share its resources. NATO also funds research and development projects that lead to enhanced capabilities to defend members of the coalition. The US certainly has not "bankrupt" itself through its portion of funding NATO, the US is not "bankrupt", it has been recovering from the 2007-2008 recession at a rather modest pace and still has a bit farther to go with respect to the unemployment rate. You do realize the recession was caused in the US by the collapse of finances related to the housing market, don't you? That had zero to do with funding for things like NATO.

    Why would a professed US citizen think that NATO of all things is the chief cause of problems today? That sounds like it is coming from a citizen of a foreign country who refuses to recognize that the problems of their country are their own doing and instead of solving those problems is trying to evade them by blaming the "other". Worse, the "other" is being used as part of an excuse to invade smaller neighboring nations on trumped up and false claims.

    Somehow spending US money on strategic interests in Asia is different than spending funds on our strategic, economic and cultural interests in Europe? Do you realize how transparently absurd that is?

    East Germany was regarded as being bankrupt, corrupt and a basket case before its reunification with West Germany - how are they doing now?

  229. 03/23/2014
    Close to 25,000 people of East Ukrainian city Odessa are involved in the pro-Russian rally on Kulikovo field. Speakers on the stage, called Viktor Yanukovych to return to Ukraine to restore order and protect people from lawlessness and the illegal far-right government installed by coup.
    In addition, protesters demanding the release of one of their leaders Davidchenko Anton, who was arrested recently on suspicion of an offense under Article 110 of the Criminal Code (attempt on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine). He was taken to Kiev and his current condition and location is unknown.

    You won't find this information on CNN as we have a freedom of press - freedom to selectively report on events.

  230. Do you work for RT Cooler? - Being that you say you are in NY and seem to have this extra access to news sources that you claim the rest of us do not have.

  231. Well, noname it seems that you have internet access out there in the pine barrens as well. My question to Cooler was about his possible association with RT not about the credibility of the news about Davidchenko's possible arrest. I don't see much confirmation of this other than from Russian sources but I would allow it is possible such a person could have been arrested by the Ukrainian police. Were there not many individuals arrested at Maidan during the protests there, not just those killed by Yanukovych's security forces? I've also read that the body of a Crimean Tatar was found that had probably been killed for expressing anti-Russian sentiments, would you disagree with that? Perhaps we could exchange references on evidence for that from your sources in Russia and I could dig up the Western reference I used. Thanks for the advice on Google but its a tool I make use of everyday. I'm still curious as to whether Cooler works for RT given the place he claims to live and that he posts so diligently with the pro-Putin news that the rest of us are being shielded from.

  232. At the very least, Russia's seizure of more than 200 Ukrainian military facilities means that not only is the Ukrainian debt that Russia claims is owed it completely wiped out, but Russian seizure of all state property in all of Crimea means that Russia likely owes Ukraine untold billions of dollars (trillions of rubles).

    Ukrainians, get out those calculators! Add it up and demand payment!

  233. It will be interesting to see whether Russian support for those in Crimea reflects their complete lack of support for South Ossetia. SO was another break away province in another former USSR possession Georgia.

    I suspect Ukraine is sorry they let their nuclear arsensal go since Putin would have been much less aggressive were that arsenal still in Ukraine hands.

  234. All West's efforts intend to contain Russia and condemn Putin of violation of international norm are seems to get the more and more the mere West's Off-Ramp policy, save-the-face policy to domestic consumption. One history page have already turned over. Maybe this time West can contain Russia in Crimea for a while but future will be uncertain. For Putin, only concern is now China. EU-NATO and others are mere peripheral, What could they really do Putin or Russia? Sanction? Putin is laughing. Only China now has real power to give Putin an influence. After Cold War power balance of world is changing or already changed, West better re-think how to deal China from now on, I think.

  235. The inflammatory rhetoric of this article tries to obscure the most important facts about the takeover of the base: that it was accomplished without a single drop of blood spilled and with no arrests or mistreatment of the Ukrainian forces.

    Historically, culturally, and ethnically, Crimea belongs to Russia. Crimea was annexed by Russia after a peaceful referendum in which the overwhelming majority of Crimean citizens voted to join Russia. Putin has expressed no interest in annexing Eastern Ukraine. He knows Russia is ill-equiped to take on the economic burden that would entail.

    The only way out of the mess the West has created in Ukraine is that it recognize the annexation, stop the sanctions, restore normal relations with Russia, and ensure that any agreement with Ukraine comes with strong protection for the rights of its minorities, specifically Russians and Jews. The chances of this happening, unfortunately, are close to absolute zero. Hope I'm wrong about that.

  236. Actually the referendum was a farce. People were not able to vote for Crimea to remain in Ukraine. The two options were: 1) vote yes to join Russia and 2) vote no which reverts to 1992 constitution, which stated that Crimea is part of Russia. So whichever way people vote,it supports Russia owning Crimea.

  237. Crimea was annexed after a Russian military invasion and a suppression of anti-secession sentiment paved the way for a referendum that was observed by no credible international organization. Sanctions are an entirely appropriate response.

  238. The West didn't create this "mess", both Russia and the corrupt politicians of Ukraine created it.

  239. The duplicity and disingenuous nature of whole the 'Crimean Caper,is really quite amusing.The 'West,by claiming to support Freedom and Democracy,simultaneously, realize that this posture pulls Ukraine Away from Russia and closer to them.So by merely claiming support of Liberty for the people of the besieged Ukraine,Western powers also surreptitiously eye the ideological and geopolitical gains this posture represents.In '62,during the Cuban Missile Crisis,the Soviets also played the cynical game of supporting the Liberation of Cuban people from the tyranny of the Imperial Americans and their post-Colonial partners..If anything,Putin has shown he is as Cynical as they come...

  240. Sadly the Obama administration has lost track of what is truly important -that is containing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Obama doctrin has been focused soly on stoping resergent Russia challenging the US hegemony. This is a very short-sighted doctrin that is only going to encourage a Russian kickback that is going to be devestating for the world. US needs to accept the reality that Russia will indeed become a superpower agan, and by surrounding it with NATO form all sides he will only be backing it into the corner and creating a real enemy in the long run. Putin (like him or not) is doing what every good leader should be doing for his country and his people - he is protecting its boarders and looking out for the best interests of his country. US should accept that and work with Russia in creating a strong and stable multi-polar world where both Russia and US knows it's place and will not overstep mutually agreed norms. Under such framework Iran, or any other roug state, would never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon and the world would be in a much more peacefull state than it is today. The balance of power is crucial for a more peacefull coexistence.

  241. Russia may be completely losing its Googles over its invasion of Ukraine. Today the russian ambassador to the EU said during a BBC interview that John McCain should be worrying about Alaska (since it once belonged to russia) as the next target for Putler and not Moldova.

    Also, the vice president of russian parliament sent an offer to Poland, Hungary and Romania today to participate in partitioning of Ukraine. All three sent back standard, formal diplomatic replies not even acknowledging the offer.

  242. The root of the whole mess with Ukraine/Crimea/Russia debacle is the threat perceived by Russia in constant NATO expansion to the East up to its border . And vice versa the West has been always apprehensive of USSR/Russia hence that expansion . But now the Communist ideology is gone . In essence all that Russia and Europe need is security. So, instead of going down the familiar Cold War route of Russia containment why not resurrect the long buried idea of Russian membership in NATO as paradoxical as it sounds right now. This idea was afloat in late 199x / early 200x . But may be now is the moment to return to it ? Otherwise the real victor in the spat between Russia and West is going to be China ...

  243. Looks like NATO is now a primary talking point after I kicked it yesterday. Its clear that NATO performed a vital task in preventing Soviet expansion into Europe after WWII until the USSR's demise in 1991. It is well worth that portion of funds, men and material that the US contributes to the NATO coalition to keep it strong and enhance its ability to counter Putin's dreams of imperialist expansion into Europe.

    Keep the endorsements coming!

  244. communist ideology is not gone- its been reinvigorated of late..been simmering for the last 20 years- or haven't you seen and heard interviews with hundreds of Russians- they long for its return

  245. the Europeans feel deeply ashamed that they have the same situation in Europe they felt it would be the past forever. Now they are facing another war, just like 1939 with Berlin: that is to appease thugs and an uncivilized government in Moscow, or go to war. There is nothing in between.
    I never thought we would go through this again. Putin managed not only holding back Russia for 20 years, but pushed back Europe to 1939.

  246. The problem is that so called pro-western regions if Ukraine live on money made in eastern part of the country. Fedralization means they will lose more than 50% of their incomes. Aside from financing from eastern regions they earn 30 billions in Russia (seasonal workers like Mexicans in US) from their 150 billion GDP. That's why those who initiated this "revolution" cant afford to lose incomes from the eastern part.
    Imagine, around 40% of Ukrainian export goes to Russia. Europe has no need in their goods aside from prostitutes. How these people plan to survive? Of course, those people arent Ukrainian patriots and they have no plans to improve lives of common people. They just hate Russia, that's all. They had plenty of time to protest for months while working people of East Ukraine were actually working.

    West Ukrainian nationalism started way before the communism. They have nothing - no manufacturing or coal (that's in East), no agriculture (that's South). All West has is mountains with no gas or oil.
    West Ukraine is former Polish and Hungarian territory taken over the centuries. They're not even Ukrainians.

  247. All true. In fact Polish, Romanian and Czech, although probably Hungarian thrown in. The western oblasti only became part of Ukraine from 1939 until latter part of 1940.

    Also true regarding the geography and the centers of manufacturing and agriculture in Ukraine.

  248. correction -western ukraine has nat gas- shale gas , contracts were awarded to several companies to start the extraction process- @Cooler- the Pro-Putin troll is at it again.

  249. they are Ukrainians -from where did you learn your European history? more disinformation and rubbish from the Putin comic gallery

  250. Does anyone remember the movie 'Mars Attacks'? The Martians greeting was "We come in Peace" then they started blasting. Russia greeting is "Nobody should fear Russia"