Ukraine

Ukraine: Russia Seizes Hospital, US To Investigate Corruption

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E. Arrott CC BY

Ukraine's crisis drags on as invasive pro-Russian forces continue to occupy the Crimean Peninsula and gain more ground. Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying help stabilize Ukraine, not through military action, but better bookkeeping.

Entering their second week of aggression, both "pro-Russian militias and Russian troops" reportedly seized a military hospital in the city of Simferopol today. The Kyiv Post writes:

Some 20-30 men in military uniforms captured the military hospital at about noon today. They carried truncheons and threatened hospital workers and some 30 patients, who are Ukrainian soldiers or veterans.

"People are really fearing for their lives," said Evgen Pyvoval, the hospital's director. He said the captures crammed him into a bus and kept him there for 30 minutes. "We don't know what their demands are," Pyvoval said.

"About 10 unidentified armed men" also fired warning shots at a Ukrainian naval base today and demanded 10 military trucks, according to Reuters.

These are just the latest in a string of strategic locations Russians have captured or attacked on the peninsula, which President Vladimir Putin hopes to bring under his control. A former Ukrainian military officer claimed on Sunday that a Russian troops took one airfield and surrounded a checkpoint at another. On Friday, around 200 troops stormed a missile base, but eventually relinquished control back to Ukrainian personnel. On Wednesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that two more missile bases had "come under partial control by pro-Moscow forces" that day.

"Russian troops preparing to install air defense systems on the peninsula territory, which includes the use of air defense missile battalions of Ukrainian Armed Forces that are being planned to be taken over," explained Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis.

Schwarzorange CC BY

So far, Ukraine's government has resisted responding to these sieges with force, lest it provide Russia a casus belli as Georgia did in 2008. 

And although the U.S. is flexing some military muscle by sending a warship to the Black Sea, it doesn't want to go too entangled. Instead, it is helping Ukraine's new government sort out the economic mess left behind by deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych. American Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said at a press conference today:

We have already on the ground here, in Ukraine, experts from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury who are working with their Ukrainian counterparts to support the Ukrainian investigation… to uncover the financial crimes that were committed by the previous regime and to see what can be done to recuperate some of those assets (stolen from the state).

Ukraine's unrest, which began in November 2013, was sparked in part by a worsening economic situation. The nation's interim president is planning a trip to Washington to meet with President Obama this Wednesday. 

For more Reason coverage of Ukraine, click here.

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  1. Some Ukranians may be wondering where the cavalry is, since Bill Clinton did promise them that the U.S. would help protect their borders.

    And, we all know, Bill Clinton doesn’t pass out promises that benefit him in the short term like a pedophile handing out candy at a little league game.

    The President has kept all the promises he intended to keep. – G Stephanopolous

    1. So what happens when this happens in a country where we can’t deny our promises as easily. Perhaps a NATO country like Estonia or Latvia?

      1. If history is any indicator, treaties were made to be broken.

  2. “So far, Ukraine’s government has resisted responding to these sieges with force, lest it provide Russia a casus belli as Georgia did in 2008.”

    So…don’t resist and have your territory stripped away. Resist and ….have your territory stripped away. I’d fight, but I sort of don’t like foreign invaders. I cannot answer for them.

    1. STOP RESISTING!

    2. FWIW – crimea, under international law, has some ‘grey zone’ features that allows various parties to claim different versions of reality. Particularly given the sequence of events so far.

      If Russia crossed with troops into Ukraine proper, the Budapest agreement thing would be far more clearly violated and would provide cover for western action. If they so chose. Ukraine doesn’t want to start any fights they are left to fight on their own, obviously.

  3. You know who else seizes property under dubious pretenses?

    1. Siblings?

      1. Mom, Jimmy keeps touching my Crimea!

        1. Tell your father!

    2. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy?

    3. Vladimir Pu–I mean, the Hamburglar?

  4. US To Investigate Corruption

    For the briefest, fleetest second, my brain thought, “…in the US.” Then my brain laughed in my face.

    1. Maybe we can send the same team in charge of the IRS non-scandal over there!

      1. Jobs created or saved!

      2. “Not one smidgen of corruption!”

  5. Some 20-30 men in military uniforms captured the military hospital at about noon today. They carried truncheons and threatened hospital workers and some 30 patients, who are Ukrainian soldiers or veterans.

    Amazing what you can accomplish with 20-30 men with small arms.

    1. I hope this isn’t a lead in to another chapter in the Warty Hugeman saga

    2. I understand Ukraine not wanting to start a shooting war, but really? They could still put a few road blocks and post a few guards. Or, are they going surrender the whole place to platoon?

  6. Damn it, where is Groovus?

    1. Yeah I was hoping we’ve hear from him. I’m picturing him on a remote tropical island, sitting in a chaise longue on the beach, sipping a girlie drink with an umbrella in it, with his little Ukrainian babeatte at his feet, having escaped in front of the advancing Russian troops via his GroovusJet 6000.

      Hope you’re OK, Groovus!

      1. Groovus is fine. If he weren’t, we’d have heard from him by now.

  7. Coruption? This calls for…
    *rips open suit coat to reveal blue unitard*
    The Most Transparent Administration in History! Led by The Silver Soliciter, aka Eric Holder, the Transparent Team will get their promptly, start investigating…and pronounce everything fine

  8. In Soviet Union Russia Ukraine, unrest sparks YOU!

  9. “””””We have already on the ground here, in Ukraine, experts from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury who are working with their Ukrainian counterparts to support the Ukrainian investigation? to uncover the financial crimes that were committed by the previous regime and to see what can be done to recuperate some of those assets”””

    How about sending a few of those experts to investigate the financial crimes of this and previous regimes in the US? A hint, I hear John Kerry wants to throw away in Ukraine at least a billion of US taxpayer dollars

  10. ” invasive pro-Russian forces”

    Is that what they’re calling them now? Funny how the Ukrainians themselves seem to have no problem with the more assertively-identified =

    Russian forces” on move today in Crimea”

    Other American news outlets seem OK calling them ‘russian’ too.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2…..ne-crimea/

    Is the idea that as determined non-intervenshuners, we need to ‘keep an open mind here’ and not rush to judgment about things? Its because *Reason* is so committed to truth, and all these others are just war-mongering instigators?

    As an editorial decision, it is a tad *odd*

    1. OK, I read the caption on the Kievpost photo, and retract my snippy-snip

      Members of the so-called pro-Russian “Crimean people’s self-defence forces” stand outside the main military hospital in Simferopol on March 10, 2014

    2. Just like the Pro-American “U.S. Army” occupied Afghanistan a few years back.

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