Ukraine to pull troops out of Crimea

Bowing to the inevitable, the provisional government of Ukraine is making arrangements to withdraw all military personnel from the Crimea,

New York Times:

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and sailors have been trapped on bases and other installations here for more than two weeks, surrounded by heavily armed Russian forces and loosely organized local militia.

While the provisional government in Kiev has insisted that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and has appealed to international supporters for help, the evacuation announcement by the head of the national security council, Andriy Parubiy, effectively amounted to a surrender of Crimea, at least from a military standpoint.

It came hours after militiamen, backed by Russian forces, seized the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol and detained its commander, in what appeared to be the start of a concerted effort to oust the Ukrainian armed forces from outposts throughout the peninsula.

Officers of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is also headquartered here, later entered the base through its main gates as Ukrainian military personnel streamed out carrying clothing and other personal belongings.

In Kiev, the provisional government also said that it would quit the Commonwealth of Independence States, the group of former Soviet republics, and that it was considering imposing visa requirements on Russian citizens — a step that would potentially create huge inconveniences for Ukrainians as well, in the likely event that Russia reciprocated.

Russia did not flinch. Outside Moscow, President Vladimir V. Putin opened a meeting of senior government ministers by demanding updates on the transportation and infrastructure in Crimea. Mr. Putin ordered that the government move swiftly to begin construction of a bridge that would provide an overland link for cars and trains directly between Crimea and Russia. At present, no such link exists.

There are two ways this plays out; either Putin lets the Ukrainian troops leave in a relatively orderly fashion or he tries to humiliate the Kiev government by turning the withdrawal into a full blown skedadle. Although he didn't much care for former Ukrainian President Yanukovich, Putin saw the change of government as a slap in the face and may seek to even the score by forcing Ukraine's forces to leave under gunpoint.

The Ukrainian government has put the rest of its forces on alert in anticipation of a move by Moscow into southern or eastern Ukraine. Putin appears to be taking a wait and see attitude about further adventures as the EU ties itself in knots trying to come up with a sanctions regime that hurts Russia more than it does them. So far, the rest of the world has failed to come up with any punishment that would seriously deter the Russian president from continuing his adventure.

Nor does it look like they will do so anytime soon.

 

 

Bowing to the inevitable, the provisional government of Ukraine is making arrangements to withdraw all military personnel from the Crimea,

New York Times:

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and sailors have been trapped on bases and other installations here for more than two weeks, surrounded by heavily armed Russian forces and loosely organized local militia.

While the provisional government in Kiev has insisted that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and has appealed to international supporters for help, the evacuation announcement by the head of the national security council, Andriy Parubiy, effectively amounted to a surrender of Crimea, at least from a military standpoint.

It came hours after militiamen, backed by Russian forces, seized the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol and detained its commander, in what appeared to be the start of a concerted effort to oust the Ukrainian armed forces from outposts throughout the peninsula.

Officers of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is also headquartered here, later entered the base through its main gates as Ukrainian military personnel streamed out carrying clothing and other personal belongings.

In Kiev, the provisional government also said that it would quit the Commonwealth of Independence States, the group of former Soviet republics, and that it was considering imposing visa requirements on Russian citizens — a step that would potentially create huge inconveniences for Ukrainians as well, in the likely event that Russia reciprocated.

Russia did not flinch. Outside Moscow, President Vladimir V. Putin opened a meeting of senior government ministers by demanding updates on the transportation and infrastructure in Crimea. Mr. Putin ordered that the government move swiftly to begin construction of a bridge that would provide an overland link for cars and trains directly between Crimea and Russia. At present, no such link exists.

There are two ways this plays out; either Putin lets the Ukrainian troops leave in a relatively orderly fashion or he tries to humiliate the Kiev government by turning the withdrawal into a full blown skedadle. Although he didn't much care for former Ukrainian President Yanukovich, Putin saw the change of government as a slap in the face and may seek to even the score by forcing Ukraine's forces to leave under gunpoint.

The Ukrainian government has put the rest of its forces on alert in anticipation of a move by Moscow into southern or eastern Ukraine. Putin appears to be taking a wait and see attitude about further adventures as the EU ties itself in knots trying to come up with a sanctions regime that hurts Russia more than it does them. So far, the rest of the world has failed to come up with any punishment that would seriously deter the Russian president from continuing his adventure.

Nor does it look like they will do so anytime soon.

 

 

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