Russia Threatens Invasion Unless Ukraine Stops Stopping Separatists


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Russia launched new military exercises along the Ukrainian border as part of yesterday's threat that Kremlin forces would invade Ukraine if the nation continues its "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian separatists.

Showing that Russia means business, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu today mobilized artillery, tanks, and fighter jets. Without a hint of irony, he justified the move by condemning the Ukrainian government's action against the insurgents who are suspected of being Russian-backed. "The forces are clearly unequal. If this military machine is not stopped today, it will lead to a large number of dead and wounded." 

Russia, which has for weeks stationed as many as 40,000 troops along the border, seems to want to eat its cake and have it too in this crisis. It denies any connection to or responsibility for the action of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine while claiming to be their rightful guardian when the Ukrainian government retaliates against them. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday accused the U.S. of meddling in Ukraine and warned that Russia could invade its neighbor "in the case of direct infringement of the interests of Russia and Russian citizens."

Ukraine considers the separatists—who have taken hostages, are accused of killing several people and wiring buildings with explosives, and have threatened to "take all necessary measures" to stop the nation's upcoming presidential election—to be dangerous militants. As part of an international agreement made last week, though, the government called a ceasefire and offered them clemency. The separatists rejected the deal and reportedly "tortured to death" a politician in an occupied region, and the government resumed its operations.

Several battles occurred today. Seven people were killed when the military attempted to "recapture [Sloviansk] from separatists, including all government buildings they had taken over," according to the Kyiv Post. One separatist leader was arrested in Kharkiv, reports Ukrainska Pravda

The threat of a Russian invasion prompted Ukraine to temporarily halt further operations, but interim president Oleksandr Turchynov said the fight isn't over. "We will not step back from the terrorist threat and will continue taking measures to protect our people's lives. We demand that the Russian Federation stop interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs, stop permanent intimidations and blackmailing, and redeploy their troops from the eastern border of our country."

Ukrainian diplomats in Washington today suggested that they'd like to buy "lethal aid," a request that has so far been rejected.

In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin today declared that the Internet is a "CIA project" and that Russia must "fight for its interests" on the web. How soon until we should expect the masked men claiming to be "local self-defense forces" of the Internet?

Click here for more Reason coverage on the Ukrainian crisis.

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  1. Um, okay. So should Europe fund some separatists in Russia and threaten the Russians with nuclear attack if they react to the separatists?

    Man, this is an awful lot like some Austrian guy’s hubris. I forget his name.

    1. Schwarzenegger?

      1. Dammit.

        Fine, I’ll change my answer to Christoph Waltz.

        1. “You said Schwarzenegger twice.”

          “I like Schwarzenegger.”


    2. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

    3. Putin has a script, and he’s sticking to it for Acts I and II, but he’s hoping to re-write Act V along the way.

      1. Is it a tragedy or a comedy?

        1. I think we’re all going to be less happy by the end.

    4. some Austrian guy


  2. So basically the Russian government’s MO is that if there is a Russian citizen anywhere in the world who is not getting what he wants, it’s invasion time? I wonder if the Russian government buys its own BS or if they just think the rest of the world is really dumb.

    Ukraine’s government is slowly getting it together and they cannot afford to stop their campaign. Russia might invade but if they let the separatists do as they will they’ve lost anyway. It may be that Russian invasion is inevitable and Ukrainians should view Russia’s ‘response trigger’ as something they can activate when they want. Finland won the Winter War with minimal territory loss.

    1. As well as the Finns did – they didn’t win. They lost a lot of their country and a lot of lives. Stalin, obviously, did not give crap about what it cost his people.

      I hope the Ukrainians do fight back – piss on Putin.

      1. Finland only lost about 22,000 square miles including Vyburg and another city. Russia lost 1 million men which was 40x the Finnish casualty rate if the BadAss of The Week Page on Simo Haha was accurate.

        They should just clone that guy like Ripley.

        1. If the wiki sources are to be believed (yeah, I know)

          “Finland ceded territory representing 11% of its land area and 30% of its economy to the Soviet Union”.

          1. I think Viipuri was a major industrial center, so that might be true.

        2. I wouldn’t mind a few Simo’s around either.

      2. they did prevent themselves from becoming the 17th soviet socialist republic

  3. Do what you want, Vlad. You have more guns; Ukraine is helpless. Europe isn’t going to do anything against you–they don’t have the military or the will. Obama has no taste for any saber-rattling, and you know how his red lines turn out. Have fun, and grab a few blintzes for me!

  4. “Ukrainian diplomats in Washington today suggested that they’d like to buy “lethal aid,” a request that has so far been rejected.”


    1. Well, at least we’ve sound SOMEONE we won’t sell our weapons to.

    2. That was also my response. The USG only gives guns to Islamists and Mexican gangs. It does NOT sell them to pro-Western victims of Russian belligerence.

  5. Putin’s got that bad cop/bad cop thing down.

  6. Man, how can the Russians possibly justify interfering in the internal politics of a sovereign nation? Who does Putin think he is, intervening on the side of one faction in a civil war?

    1. And we didn’t even get annex any of Libya…

  7. “tortured tp death”

    I know toilet paper in that part of the world is rough… but deadly?!

    1. anal fissures hurt like a bitch, man.

    2. Thanks for catching that.

      1. That is what we do, Zenon – we find error and resort to cheap humor. Fortunately, we love our work, as it doesn’t pay very well.

  8. Geez this site is the most anti Russian libertarian going. Cathy Young just had a piece in Time Magazine about how if the US doesn’t lead, then some bad boogey men will “fill the vacum”.

    There is no sense of balance on the Independents either. They had some joker who works for the feds who said there was no way that we organized the Coup in Maidan but even Kennedy shut her trap and did not respond.

    Hey, I am a big fan of Pussy Riot and all that but Russia does have a historical claim as “Protector of the Slavs” and was seriously put out when Clinton grabbed land from Serbia. Nato should have been dissolved after 1991 but instead was pushed into Poland, the Baltics, etc.

    We almost started WWIII over a few missiles in Cuba but Russia has a legitimate beef about US troops and Nato and now the Country that was the birthplace of its culture and breadbasket and only warm sea port is being broken away by Neo Nazis and Neo Cons and everything on this website is anti Putin and anti Russian.
    Stop poking the bear!

    1. Russia does have a historical claim as “Protector of the Slavs”

      Ah, the oldest libertarian value – imperial nationalism! And there I was thinking it was the NAP/liberty/autonomy/self-determination and whatnot.

      1. No way, dude. Pooty-poo is totes gonna treat the Ukraine better than Georgia and Chechnya. I eagerly await the day when Turkey asserts their right to the Ukraine under the historic claim of Mithradates Eupator.

        1. Dude, it’s not the Ukraine anymore than it’s the France or the Germany.

          Drop the the.

          It’s Ukraine. No the.

          /end rant

          1. Should I have referred to The Crimea instead?

          2. This is correct. Ohio State stole the “The” in the 90s.

            1. I really think after their football and baseball seasons, they just need to be “An” Ohio State University for a couple of years.

              1. Ohio University says, “Thanks!”

              2. Basketball, but probably baseball, too. Although the FSU curse (make CWS, lose immediately) is pretty strong, so we’ve little room to talk.

      2. *Snort.* Good one.

    2. Geez this site is the most anti Russian libertarian going.

      Better they be “whoever pisses off America the most is awesome in our eyes” like LRC right?

    3. rambling post is ramblin’

    4. NATO was set up post WWII to prevent Russia from doing exactly what Putin is doing right this minute. For chrissake, let them at least pretend to do what they were founded for.

      1. Ukraine is not part of NATO and so NATO was not set up to do anything about Ukraine.

        1. details, details….

        2. No, but it is foostering about in Poland and the Baltics because of unease in the area and ought to be left alone to do so. I say this to remind non-interventionists that we have signed up to some responsibilities.

          We piss all over the Middle East with far less justification than the Budapest Protocol but can’t produce anything more than diplomatic babble and excuses when Ukraine is dismembered piecemeal.

          1. thats because the mideast aint got anything more threatenine than falafel

      2. My reaction to doing some NATO maneuvers in Poland is that’s what the British and the French should’ve done before Hitler invaded.

    5. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, the party seizing territory in Europe as a protector always has good intentions.

      1. You know who else….no, I just can’t…

        1. Beat me to it…

    6. Cool story bro.

    7. That if the “Slavs” tell Russia to piss off with their claim?

  9. What if (dammit)

    1. Sorry, “historical claim” trumps freedom and self-determination.


      1. +1 wounded knee

        *gambols away*

  10. Not long ago Thomas Sowell made the claim that we are re-living the years between WWI and WWII. He said it in the context of the contemporary intellectual current, but made comparisons between the world’s politics then and now and how the intellectual crowd now is responding in the same fashion.

    He did not make and predictions, not explicitly, but it was easy enough to read between the lines. If you have not read “The Vision of the Anointed” now might be a good time to crack open a copy.

    This is some scary shit.

  11. In the many articles I’ve read about what’s going in in Crimea and Ukraine — even in Reason — I find statements about what the Russian, US, Ukranian, and other European governments positions are, but never what the people in these regions actually think or want. The writers at Reason in particular ought to realize by now that what these various governments statements and positions are tend to be far afield from what the individuals they claim power over want and think.

    – The Russian government ought to let the people, as individuals, decide for themselves.
    – The US government ought to let the people, as individuals, decide for themselves.
    – The Ukrainian government ought to let the people, as individuals, decide for themselves.
    – Every government in the world ought to let the people, as individuals, decide for themselves.

  12. A couple years ago, there was a country (let’s call it Libya for the state of argument). People in the Eastern Part of the country didn’t want to be ruled by the internationally recognized government of Tripoli. Military folks in the East met in a city called Benghazi announcing their intention to no longer be ruled by Tripoli.

    The Government sent a column of tanks on to suppress the rebellion. An outside country headed by some guy named Obama declared that the people in Benghazi had a right to not live under an illegitimate government, and then proceeded to crush the government, bomb retreating tanks and kill its leader (using a proxy mob)

    So Putin is sitting there ready to say – we’re only doing what you did in Libya. Short of kicking Russia out of the UN, the security council is not going to authorize military action against Russia.

    Putin is playing chess, Kerry is playing Candyland. Snowden has given away the map to the castle. Eric Holder is preparing to open the gates of the prisons. The fat lady is warming up in the wings.

  13. Re “hints of irony” the writer may want to check our thes quotes from AP:

    He [Putin] dismissed Western criticism of Sunday’s Crimean referendum ? in which residents of the strategic Black Sea peninsula voted overwhelmingly to break off from Ukraine and join Russia ? as a manifestation of the West’s double standards.

    “They tell us that we are violating the norms of international law. First of all, it’s good that they at least remember that international law exists,” Putin said, pointing at what he called the U.S. trampling of international norms in wars in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

    “Our Western partners led by the United States prefer to proceed not from international law, but the law of might in their practical policies,” he said.

    “If the Kiev government is using the army against its own people, this is clearly a grave crime,” Putin said.

    Clearly Vladimir is mocking US.

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