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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Ukraine asks NATO, UN for help as Russians move in; new government mobilizes military

The news out of Ukraine just keeps get­ting worse.

In the wake of the Russ­ian par­lia­men­t’s vote to endorse (or rub­ber stamp) Vladimir Putin’s already script­ed inva­sion of its neigh­bor, the new Ukran­ian gov­ern­ment is appeal­ing to the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty for help and mobi­liz­ing its mil­i­tary, fear­ing that Putin has designs on more than just the Crimean Penin­su­la, where Russ­ian troops are mov­ing in with the help of Russ­ian sym­pa­thiz­ers.

A recap of the lat­est devel­op­ments:

  • Ukraine’s prime min­is­ter declared that his coun­try was on “the brink of dis­as­ter” and asked the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to pro­vide help to his coun­try in the face of Russ­ian aggres­sion.
  • The Ukran­ian mil­i­tary is call­ing up its reservists while Russ­ian troops con­tin­ue to encir­cle its bases in the Crimean Penin­su­la. Rus­sia has its own bases on the Penin­su­la, which it leas­es under a long-term agree­ment that was drawn up in the 1990s. Its Black Sea Fleet is head­quar­tered in Sev­astopol.
  • The BBC is report­ing that the man recent­ly appoint­ed to head up Ukraine’s navy has defect­ed, swear­ing alle­giance to the Crimean region, “in the pres­ence of its unrecog­nised pro-Russ­ian leader”.
  • U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry appeared on three Sun­day talk shows to warn that Rus­sia faces expul­sion from the G‑8 (Group of 8), as well as oth­er con­se­quences (which could include trav­el bans on lead­ing Russ­ian offi­cials, can­cel­la­tion of work on a new trade agree­ment, the freez­ing of assets) if it does not cease its aggres­sion in Ukraine.
  • A spokesman for Putin, who evi­dent­ly antic­i­pat­ed the back­lash, was dis­mis­sive of Ker­ry’s warn­ing. “It’s not a minus for Rus­sia… it will be a minus for the G‑8,” said the spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov. Peskov and his boss must be aware that the G‑8’s oth­er democ­ra­cies (at least four so far, includ­ing Cana­da and the Unit­ed States) are threat­en­ing to can­cel their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the G‑8 as well. How is the col­lapse of this year’s sum­mit, which is a very real pos­si­bil­i­ty at this point, not a minus for Rus­sia?
  • NATO chief Anders Fogh Ras­mussen con­vened an emer­gency meet­ing of the twen­ty-eight nation alliance in Brus­sels to dis­cuss Rus­si­a’s incur­sion into Ukraine, and what steps NATO might take in response. Ukraine is not a mem­ber of the alliance, but it does send an ambas­sador to NATO.
  • British For­eign Sec­re­tary William Hague trav­eled to Kiev to meet with his Ukran­ian coun­ter­parts. The Unit­ed King­dom, which has strong­ly con­demned Rus­si­a’s incur­sion, is offer­ing assis­tance and diplo­mat­ic sup­port.

The U.S. Depart­ment of State has just announced that Ker­ry will fol­low suit. He will head to Kiev on Tues­day to offer U.S. assis­tance and diplo­mat­ic sup­port.

So far, the strongest respons­es to Rus­si­a’s aggres­sion have come from the Unit­ed States, Cana­da, the Unit­ed King­dom, and France. All four nations have pub­licly announced the sus­pen­sion of prepa­ra­tions to attend the G‑8 sum­mit in Sochi.

The oth­er G‑8 nations (aside from Rus­sia) are Ger­many, Japan, and Italy. Ger­many and Italy are also mem­bers of NATO.

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