Ukraine

Obama Speaks as Threat of Russian Invasion of Ukraine Persists

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poniblog / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Ukraine is pulling its military out of the recently-annexed Crimean peninsula, indicating that Russia's control of the region will go uncontested. But, the Ukrainian government fears that unpredictable and forceful behavior from their neighbor is threatening to destabilize other regions of Ukraine. President Obama, who is on a four-day trip in Europe, spoke about the crisis today.

"Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people" and "we're united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Obama assured before heading to a meeting with other world leaders in the Netherlands.

Michael Shear of The New York Times suggests Obama's approach stands "in stark contrast to the more hopeful tone struck by President Bill Clinton," who visited the Netherlands in the late '90s to better U.S.-Russian relations.

Obama's threats don't seem to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian government set March 29 as the deadline for Ukraine to get off the peninsula, but isn't passing up on the opportunity to rough the old tenants up before slamming the door. Reuters writes that earlier today, Kremlin forces injured around 150 people while "using stun grenades and machine guns… backed by two helicopters" as they "swept into [a] marine base in the port of Feodosia" and snatched Ukrainian officers for "for questioning." Russian troops have detained as many as 80 Ukrainian marines and carried out the assault despite the fact that Ukraine has been complying with orders by presenting no armed resistance to take-overs of military posts. In recent days, Russians have staged similar seizures of other bases in the region, and one Ukrainian military cartographer has been killed.

This may not be the limits of Russia's aggressive behavior, though, which concerns members of the Ukrainian government. Agence-France Presse reports:

"The aim of Putin is not Crimea but all of Ukraine… His troops massed at the border are ready to attack at any moment," Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council chief Andriy Parubiy told a mass unity rally in Kiev.

Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya reaffirmed that message in an interview broadcast on Sunday on a top US political talk show.

"We do not know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision. That's why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago," Deshchytsya told ABC's "This Week".

They aren't the only ones worried. Along Ukraine's border, Russia has a "very, very ready" collection of an estimated 80,000 troops conducting exercises, according to NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove. Breedlove, who is also in the Netherlands, suggests that "Russia is acting much more like an adversary than a partner," he said, and may have its eyes set on a disputed sliver of land between Ukraine and Moldova. 

Read more Reason coverage of Ukraine and Russia here.

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  1. Rothbard! Imperialism! Putin! Self-determination! Obama!

    (runs from room)

  2. Hmm. Headline:

    Obama Speaks as Threat of Russian Invasion of Ukraine Persists

    Story:

    Kremlin forces injured around 150 people while “using stun grenades and machine guns… backed by two helicopters” as they “swept into [a] marine base in the port of Feodosia” and snatched Ukrainian officers for “for questioning.”

    There is no “threat” of invasion. Russia is invading the Ukraine. The Ukrainians’ understandable reluctance to defend themselves futilely should not stop us from calling a spade a spade.

    1. This right here. The Russians invaded, illegally on multiple counts. You’d think the Hague would be interested, but they’re probably too busy trying to track down notorious war criminals George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

  3. They aren’t the only ones worried. Along Ukraine’s border, Russia has a “very, very ready” collection of an estimated 80,000 troops conducting exercises, according to NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove. Breedlove, who is also in the Netherlands, suggests that “Russia is acting much more like an adversary than a partner,” he said

    “Hello, my name is General Philip Breedlove and I am here to state the obvious for you twits to make a news story with”

  4. Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya reaffirmed that message in an interview broadcast on Sunday on a top US political talk show.

    “We do not know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision. That’s why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago,” Deshchytsya told ABC’s “This Week”.

    “Hello, my name is Andriy Deshchytsya, and I’m here to tell you I don’t know what Putin is going to do, nor what he thinks, but the situation is more explosive than last week and will be more explosive next week. That will make a good story for you.”

  5. What’s the worst that could happen? It wasn’t so bad last time Russia controlled the Ukraine. Maybe a few people went hungry.

    1. Maybe we should just give Ukraine its nukes back, since the treaty is in the garbage can now. Fair is fair.

      1. I think Ukraine is certainly going to end up as exhibit A in “why you should never outsource your national defense to others, and why having nukes is a good thing.”

        1. Yep, that’s the end of voluntary surrender of nukes.

  6. Tip of the hat to Mr. Evans on the alt-text. Maybe your article was good, I don’t know. I only read the important part.

    1. “Most dangerous game?”

    2. Obama’s threats don’t seem to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      We’re not exactly breaking new ground here.

      1. Do you even know what alt-text is?

        1. Maybe your article was good, I don’t know. I only read the important part.

          I provided the gist of the article and it substantiated your premise that the alt-text was the “important part”. But yeah, WTF is alt-text? Does it involve Google translate?

          1. The text that displays when you hover the mouse cursor over an image.

          2. Alt Text is an HTML tag which is displayed when you hover your mouse over an image. It also happens to be important in the correct functioning of screen readers for the blind (god help any visually impaired people who try to read this site).

            Somewhere back in the dark mists of time one of the editors of the morning links started posting cute jokes as the alt text of the images. People noticed then came to expect it and now whenever the reason writers, especially those writers who descend into the pits of the commentariat on occasion fail to include something witty or funny for alt text they catch shit for it.

            1. god help any visually impaired people who try to read this site

              Any visually impaired libertarian will naturally have a seeing-eye orphan to help out.

              Any non-libertarians, well, who cares?

  7. I read to the end looking for the “So the USA should…” part but it never came.

  8. We are not going to head to war with Russia over the Ukraine or over any of the former Eastern Bloc or former Soviet Union countries, ever.

    America as a society isn’t prepared for an actual war against a country that can defend itself nor are we prepared to risk nuclear war over any former Soviet Union states or Eastern Bloc states.

    1. And Putin pretty knows this, along with everyone else. Those former USSR states should have never trusted us and NATO to protect them from the big bad Russian bear.

      IOW, they fucked up! They trusted us!

    2. You are correct on countries which were part of the USSR, however former eastern bloc countries who have joined NATO like the Baltics and Poland would almost certainly be defended.

      1. the Baltics and Poland would almost certainly be defended.

        If I were them, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

      2. I don’t think they would be defended to be honest and nor if I was the leader of any country that Russia may eye would I expect NATO or the US or the UN to come to my defense.

  9. Ukraine is not a NATO member. Call me when Russian troops cross into Poland or Estonia.

    If anything, this will hopefully put an end to the silliness of NATO expansion talk. Unfortunately it will now delay any discussion of whether NATO itself is still relevant for another 10 years or so. In 1995 NATO should have been dissolved and replaced by a purely European defense arrangement. Then we would not be in this situation right now.

  10. Surely the Russian troops are on the border to deter any thoughts by the Ukranian govt of an attempt to invade Crimea.

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