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WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action 479

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-anybody-had-bothered-to-read-them dept.
Now that Russia has sent troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, international politics are tense and frantic. An anonymous reader notes an article from Joshua Keating at Slate, which points out that some of the diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks illustrate how this situation is not at all unexpected. Quoting a cable from October, 2009: "... pro-Russian forces in Crimea, acting with funding and direction from Moscow, have systematically attempted to increase communal tensions in Crimea in the two years since the Orange Revolution. They have done so by cynically fanning ethnic Russian chauvinism towards Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians, through manipulation of issues like the status of the Russian language, NATO, and an alleged Tatar threat to 'Slavs,' in a deliberate effort to destabilize Crimea, weaken Ukraine, and prevent Ukraine's movement west into institutions like NATO and the EU." The article points out another cable from a few days later, which was titled, "Ukraine-Russia: Is Military Conflict No Longer Unthinkable?"
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WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @03:20AM (#46379903)

    and now let's talk about the leaked documents involving the "pro-western forces in the Ukraine""

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @03:29AM (#46379937) Homepage Journal

      Just like the Cold War when half the world's nations were treated like nothing more than political footballs by both sides. It's partly why the Middle East is such a mess as both sides propped up dictators and fools and blowback fuel.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @07:09AM (#46380417)
      And so what? If Ukrainians decide to go west, that's fine with me. Certainly more fine than when Russia decides that Ukrainians will go east. If Ukraine tried to do the same to Russia, they'd get invaded too. In fact, whenever X has problems with Russia or Russia has problems with X, the end result is always that Russia invades X. We've seen this.
      • by ilguido (1704434) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @07:52AM (#46380501) Homepage
        Well, it usually works. Don't fix it, if it ain't broken.

        More seriously, Ukraine is a failed state at the mercy of the shenanigans of both western and Russian shills. And, more importantly, neither party, Russia and West, act for the better of the Ukrainian people.
        • by wheelbarrio (1784594) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:42AM (#46380877)
          I'm sorry but that is just the weakest moral equivalence BS. The fact that both parties to a dispute have tarnished reputations has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness of their current cause. Some details for you to think about, if you care to come off the fence:

          * Ukraine has been pretty badly run since independence but it's hardly a "failed state" - at 117 out of 178 countries it's not even in the bottom half of the index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Failed_States_Index) - the US is 159 if you want to know.
          * The overt and covert hands of Russia are MUCH more evident in Ukraine than the West's. US foreign policy been incredibly inward-looking of late and not much bothered with the complexities of post-Soviet states' politics (a mistake). EU is in play but mostly economically - this is the proximate cause of this whole recent mess.
          * The 'Ukrainian people' means different things to different people - if you're an ethnic Russian in Crimea you live in Ukraine but probably have much more allegiance to mother Russia than the government in Kiev. If you're a kid in Kiev born post-Soviet era to ethnic Ukrainian parents, different deal. Ethnic Tatar, different again.
          * People who live in Ukraine should decide how they are governed. If that means some regions split off and join Russia leaving a rump that is European-looking, fine.
          * The one certainty once Russia gets involved militarily is that people will needlessly die, many Ukrainians will lose the right to choose their destiny, and the West will look foolish for having dealt with Putin's Russia as anything except an nuclear-armed oligarchic petrostate, i.e. a bad actor. How European countries let themselves become dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies with no thought for exactly this kind of contingency is beyond me. What are they going to do now, threaten economic sanctions that involve turning off their own heating?

          So let's be careful before casting judgement but don't just throw the hands up and say "pot, kettle". I blame FOX (because I can) for having destroyed the critical thinking faculties of a generation of Americans with their discovery/invention of the "Fair and Balanced" trope, even amongst people that don't watch the damn channel.
          • by ilguido (1704434) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:06AM (#46381323) Homepage

            The 'Ukrainian people' means different things to different people - if you're an ethnic Russian in Crimea you live in Ukraine but probably have much more allegiance to mother Russia than the government in Kiev. If you're a kid in Kiev born post-Soviet era to ethnic Ukrainian parents, different deal. Ethnic Tatar, different again.

            I don't want to start a heated debate, so I'll answer only this point: saying that "the 'Ukrainian people' means different things to different people" is the exact mistake that brought them at this point. The Ukrainian people is all the people that dwells Ukraine: Ukrainians, Russians, Hebrews, Romanians, Poles and Tatars. The opposition parties should have been more levelheaded: if they really wanted to keep Ukraine united, they should have tried to keep the people (all of them) united. Instead they let the nationalists take a big part in the whole process, including rejecting a reasonable deal mediated by the EU [archive.org] with a president that was actually democratically elected and had a lot of support in vast areas of the country, taking three seats in the government including ministry of defence, and removing the Russian language from the list of the official languages of the country.

            I'm not saying that Russia is right, but that the revolutionaries acted quite stupidly: they should have tried to wheedle ethnic minorities, not stir them up.

    • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:28AM (#46381447) Journal

      I have to admit, It's kinda cool that Putin posts on slashdot.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @03:30AM (#46379941)

    Predicted the same thing in 2008.

    • Understandable, given that she can see Russia from her house.

    • by swb (14022) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:45AM (#46380891)

      Anyone who has paid even slight attention would have predicted this.

      The Crimea is the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet, Putin is not going to walk away from that (in fact they have a lease, although it has a somewhat dubious approval).

      Putin would like to keep all of Ukraine in his orbit, but I think even he has doubts about his ability to seize Ukraine with force. The West will whine about the Crimea but has no leverage and will just hope they can bluff enough to maintain the rest of the existing Ukrainian borders without having Moscow annex the eastern part, too.

      The whole east/west struggle is something of a pyrrhic victory for no matter who "wins" -- Ukraine's economy is a trainwreck, and the "winner" will have to spend big bucks to keep it propped up, which nobody wants to do.

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @03:53AM (#46379979)
    If the US could invade Iraq without UN support and under the pretense of the moral high ground as defined by the US, then so can Russia invade Crimea. If the Kosovo can leave Serbia and become it's own country under the support of the US even though it is historically Serbian but by population Albanian so can Crimea which has a Russian majority. The US has made their bed and now it is sleeping in it. Precedence is a bitch, the US set the precedent and now they are winging about what is happening in Crimea !! Russia supplies 60% of Europe's energy and it will increase to 80% ... the US has nothing to stand on. If they apply sanctions, the Russians will increase the price of gas and oil and have Europe pay for them just for giggles.
    • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:51AM (#46380121) Journal

      The US has made their bed and now it is sleeping in it.

      Wow, talk about ameri-centrism. This isn't about the US bro, this is about Ukraine and Russia. The US isn't suffering here, Ukrainians are. The US has nothing to do with it except the complaints of a whining president.

      • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @05:18AM (#46380169) Homepage Journal
        Re This isn't about the US bro
        The US spent a lot on color revolution efforts over the years and really wants to see some payback
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]
        US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev (26 November 2004)
        http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]
        The US really wants NATO up against Russia (encirclement, containment) - like the Soviet Union used Cuba.
        • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:45AM (#46381539)

          The US spent a lot on color revolution efforts over the years and really wants to see some payback

          Russia has spent a lot on separatism efforts in many countries after the Soviet Union, centered in Russia, had previously shipped ethnic Russians to live in many occupied countries, often after engaging in various flavors of ethnic cleansing or other mass killings. We can expect more "protection" to be needed by those Russian in years to come, and Russian aggression and occupation of those countries will always be a danger under the current Russian government.

          US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev (26 November 2004)
          http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

          There is a great deal that the account you reference leaves out, including government election fraud and thuggery. Lets add some more background.

          Ukraine's Orange Revolution [nytimes.com]

          The US really wants NATO up against Russia (encirclement, containment) - like the Soviet Union used Cuba.

          Having regained its independence after a long, bitter period of foreign rule, Ukraine really, really wants to remain independent with its territory intact. By itself against Russia it is unlikely to do so given Russia's history and power, as we are seeing demonstrated now, and previously in Georgia.

          You may recall that the Ukrainians have plenty of motivation to be free of Russia since a special word is used for the crime against humanity inflicted upon them by the Soviet Union, the heart of which was Russia: Holodomo. The Ukrainian terror famine killed perhaps as many as 10,000,000 people as the police, secret police, and army were used to confiscate food and prevent people from leaving.

          The Soviet Story - trailer [youtube.com]
          The Great Famine [historylea...site.co.uk]

          The Soviet Union had to be contained, Russia didn't ..... or are we seeing now that it does?

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @02:25PM (#46382513) Journal
          If Russia stops trying to take territory from other countries, it won't need to be contained.
          • by Uberbah (647458)

            American Exceptionalism strikes again. How many invasions and regime changes has Russia performed over the last 10 years compared to your government? Is Putin asserting he has the right to have anyone murdered, anywhere in the world, based on his say so alone - and acting on those claims? How many military bases does Russia have around the world compared to the United States. Does Russia have special forces operating in more than half [motherjones.com] the world's countries?

            Anyone with a half-functioning brain can see wh

            • Uh, so lets talk about America when America does something? Even if America had just acquired Canada and Mexico, it still would have nothing to do with this situation. Comparing every international event to America is the sign of a juvenile mind, and trying to justify behavior based on American's behavior is the sign of juvenile ethics.
    • by drolli (522659) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @07:09AM (#46380421) Journal

      Now thats an unfair comparison. There were never that many interest or citizens of the US in Iraq as Russians in Crimea.

      Since the revolution i hoped that Ukraina and EU do the most reasonable thing: Declare that Russia can keep the military base there (in the best interest of everybody), declare that the crimea is automonous in many aspects, and make an agreement that Russian is the second official language in Ukraina, and the first in the East part and the Crimea. Make a trade agreement and offer Russia Ukraina as a marketplace to access EU. Give Russia the prospect of becoming associated (not member, but free trade) with the EU via this way.

      History has no rewind button. Russian speaking population is now living everywhere in the former Soviet union, and we have seen example of discrimination of Russians in other countries (Baltic states) before, where in some it was forbidden to speak russian.

      The nationalist political games which the west does not keep a safe distance from are not good.

    • Sevastapol is largely Russian, but Crimea on the whole is ethnically Tatar. The problem is a hangover from the old imperial tactic of settling a privileged minority to try to make the local populace easier to control, and to try to trigger language change. Congo's crisis came because independence didn't do enough to start the process of returning land from the privileged settled whites to the native population, and then Mugabe gained power on the land reform ticket with no real plan on how to do it right --

      • by shia84 (1985626) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:16AM (#46380731)

        Please elaborate a bit more on your first sentence. I don't live there, so I have to rely on Wikipedia etc., but the population of Crimea is around 2 million, out of which 58% (1.16m) are Russians and 12% (0.24m) are Tatars, with 24% Ukraininans.
        If 100% of Sevastopol (population of 380'000) were Russian, that still leaves 780'000 Russians vs 240'000 Tatars for the rest of Crimea. I'd say if anything, Crimea on the whole is ethnically Russian.

        Maybe you're referring to the historical development. But I don't see how 3 centuries of Tatar rule take precedence over 4 centuries of Bulgarian rule, 2 centuries of Kievan Rus' rule (both slavic) and all the others (Greeks, Goths, Huns, ....) before the Tatars arrived in the 15th century. And for the Russian rule since the 18th century, afaict the whole pretext for the subjugation was that the Crimea was slavic lands.

        • There are more Tatars outside of Sevastopol than in the city, but they are still a minority. Their history with Russia is pretty complicated and has many conflicts the latest being WWII where the Tatar community openly supported Hitler even after they were denied their own country. While most collaborationists themselves could escape with the retreating Wehrmacht, the common people were not so lucky: the Tatars were deported to Uzbekistan, many of them died. 1989 the Soviets acknowledged the deportation as

  • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:02AM (#46379995)

    I don't care who is right or wrong in the Ukraine, I don't care who is more manipulative: EU, USA or Russia. I don't care who has stolen more: Yanukovych or Tymoshenko. I pity those who died in this conflict, but I don't even care who has started the bloodshed.

    There is one thing that I care about though. On one side of this conflict are Nazis. The "Right Wing", one of the main pushing forces in this uprising, are Nazis. They use Nazi symbols and slogans, they praise WWII Nazi collaborators as their heroes, their leader Yarosh (now the Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine) said that Russian people will never give up their ethnics and culture and therefore have to be eliminated.

    So, if the Nazis are on one side, I'm on the other. No corruption can justify aligning with Nazis. I don't give a fuck how decent the majority of the protester might be. They. Fought. Side-by-side. With. Nazis.

    • by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:08AM (#46380001)

      Well the Russians joined the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 17th, 1939, so there's that, too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        They even had non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. A mistake that the Russians have ultimately paid for with 20 million of their lives.

        Therefore the Russians in power don't praise the Nazis. The Ukrainians do.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:21AM (#46380029) Journal

      You say this as if the other side doesn't have its own Nazis. Here [citysites.ua] is what the synagogue in Simferopol looks like, a day after its takeover by the local pro-Russian "self-defense force". The text says "Death to Jews".

      Also, Crimean Tatars are not happy about Russian takeover for a good reason stemming from their own recent history. You might want to look it up on Wikipedia.

      Oh, and the guy they've put in charge of Crimea? He has statues of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky in his work cabinet.

      • Except the synagogue was not taken over by "pro-Russian self-defence forces". According to the Jewish association director someone climbed over the fence and made this "graffiti". I saw no claim that pro-Russian forces are behind this.

        A singular act of an unknown individual is a far stretch from openly praising Nazis and using their insignia.

        Crimean Tatars were known Nazi collaborators during WWII. Nonetheless, they still live on the peninsula.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:51AM (#46380117) Journal

          Except the synagogue was not taken over by "pro-Russian self-defence forces". According to the Jewish association director someone climbed over the fence and made this "graffiti". I saw no claim that pro-Russian forces are behind this.

          The point is that the graffiti was not there the day before (when, presumably, those "Nazis" were in charge), and now it is.

          In any case, there's plenty of Nazi-like talk coming from Russia and easily seen in comments on YouTube and elsewhere on the Net. How about Sergei Lukyanenko: "There is no such country as Ukraine, and what's there is destined to be either a part of Russia or a Polish protectorate" [calvertjournal.com]. And there's plenty of far cruder stuff out there if one cares to look.

          Don't kid yourself. The Russian tricolor and the orange-black striped ribbon are now as much Nazi symbols as swastika and SS runes.

          Crimean Tatars were known Nazi collaborators during WWII.

          What, every single one of them? You're trodding awfully close to nazism yourself.

          Nonetheless, they still live on the peninsula.

          Well yes, they were allowed to return there in 1989, shortly before Ukraine gained independence, which is the only reason why they're there now. To remind, Stalin - you know, the guy whom the new prime minister of Crimea is apparently a huge fan of - resettled all Crimean Tatars from Uzbekistan in 1944, with almost half perishing in the process.

    • I see. So it's fair to say that whenever some right-wing shit happens to come out in favour of something you also favour, you'll instantly disavow it?

      Oh, yes, that is very sensible.

      • The protest leaders did nothing to banish Nazis from their midst, they relied on them heavily and made their leader Deputy Secretary of the National Security. So yes, in this case I don't care how noble their goals were. I sympathise with the Ukrainian's struggle for a fair government, but I will not support this uprising.

    • by jklovanc (1603149) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:30AM (#46380049)

      They. Fought. Side-by-side. With. Nazis.

      You need to go back a little further and read a little history. In 1932-1933 there was a famine [wikipedia.org] caused by Russia which killed over 2 million Ukrainians. When the Germans invaded they were seen as liberators by many as they were kicking out the hated Russians. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I also wonder if Russia is spinning WW2 ties with the German army to make their case look better.

      • The famine was not in Ukraine only, parts of Russia and Belarus have suffered as well. The matter is highly disputed, it didn't help that the Ukrainians ones used the photos from US Great Depression to illustrate the atrocities of the Russians.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:41AM (#46380085)

      They. Fought. Side-by-side. With. Nazis.

      Yarosh and his ilk are bad news. They are not representative of the majority of Ukrainians in the western half of the country. Given what Stalin did [wikipedia.org] to the Ukrainian population, it's understandable that there are present-day extremists who have adopted their positions from those who welcomed the Nazis as liberators. (That was a really bad decision, by the way. After Stalin had starved millions of them to death, they got stomped on by the Nazis, and then got stomped on again by Stalin towards the end of the war. They were fucked either way, but the way things worked out, they got fucked three times.)

      There are lots of "they" in the movement to depose Yanukovych. There are hard-right elements within the Maidan, but they are not representative of the Maidan. (The closest American political analogies would be that the KKK is not representative of conservatism, let alone the GOP, and that Occupy Wall Street is not representative of the progressive movement, let alone the DNC.)

      For what little it's worth, I think the most reasonable solution is to divide the country. Most of the land mass of Ukraine leans towards Europe, but some of that land mass, specifically Crimea, leans towards Russia. (This is in large part due to Stalin-era resettlements, but WW2 is long over, and so is the Holodomor, so it ought to be a moot point.) If Putin wants is a port for his fleet (he does), and if the Crimean region wants to ally itself with Russia (it does, by as large a margin as Western Ukraine wants to ally with Europe), then they should probably be free to leave.

      The interesting question is how much more Ukranian territory Putin wants as a buffer zone between Europe and Russia. (Having a buffer zone is kind of a Russian thing. I can't say I blame them, given the history of invasions from Europe...) A partitioned Ukraine shrinks that buffer zone considerably. Taking all of Ukraine by force back into the Russian fold would, at the moment, imply a war whose costs could well exceed the worth of the natural gas reserves and the fleet. The question is -- how much territory is enough for Putin, and will the rest of Ukraine cede it?

      I think this all ends diplomatically. Neither Ukraine, nor Russia, nor the rest of Europe, has much to gain from a civil war. Maybe all that needs to happen is Ukraine extends the lease on the port for a decade or two on the cheap. Or something to do with gas royalties. This is the sort of problem that is best solved by bankers and ballots, not bullets.

    • by hydrofix (1253498) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @05:03AM (#46380135)

      They. Fought. Side-by-side. With. Nazis.

      You would be surprised to hear that many democratic countries in present-day Europe apart from the Nazi-Germany itself fought alongside the Nazis in WWII, including Italians, Finns, Romanians, Bulgarians and Norwegians. And these were the real-deal WWII genociding, totalitarian, Führer-hailing Nazis – not some modern-day, nostalgic Neo-Nazis, who don't even know how to genocide. And apart from those countries that fought alongside them, in the 1930s Nazis had large amounts of supporters in every Western country, and their policies were widely regarded as progressive, modern and necessary. Nowadays we know that the Nazi policies led to ruin, but the masses of the 1930s did not and thought they were behaving rationally. Do you think human thinking has changed much in mere 80 years?

      • by guacamole (24270)

        There were also Russians fighting on the side of Nazis. Many of those collaborators did not view themselves as Hitler's subordinates. Their goal was to liberate their countries from Communists. Vlasov's Russian army wanted to create a free and independent Russia, while Ukraine's Stepan Bandera wanted to create a free and independent Ukrainian state. For this reason, Hitler had a quite uneasy relationship with them since he had other plans for conquered territories.

        • As said, I don't care how noble their goals were. Siding with Nazis is an excuse to nothing. Vlasov and Bandera were used by the Nazi regime and whether they genuinely believed that they are fighting for noble cause is irrelevant -- both were sentenced to death for a reason.

          • by guacamole (24270)

            As said, I don't care how noble their goals were. Siding with Nazis is an excuse to nothing.

            I beg to differ. It's only ex post, with all of our current knowledge of the full extent of Holocaust and other Nazi "accomplishments" and future plans, we can say TODAY that siding with Nazis back then was bad. In reality, back in the 30s, the Soviet union was regarded as just as bad and just as evil as the Nazis. So a lot of smaller nations were effectively choosing between two evils. Finns for example saw no diff

    • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @08:47AM (#46380631)

      ... they praise WWII Nazi collaborators as their heroes,...

      So, if the Nazis are on one side, I'm on the other.

      Ergo you are on the side of Joseph Stalin. Death camps. Force labour. Expansionist military aggression. Civilian infrastructure retooled to produce a state-controlled war machine. Genocide of perceived "lesser races". Rejection of religious freedom. Restriction of travel. Secret police encouraging people to inform on their neighbours. Thought police enforcing the norm through "party membership" as a de facto prerequisite for employment.

      All the evils we see from the Nazis were evils that Soviet Union had been visiting on its population for a good decade before Hitler rose to power. Knowing what Stalin was doing to them already, and not knowing that the Nazis were equally dangerous as Stalin, it was perfectly logical for them to side with the Nazis.

  • by hydrofix (1253498) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:19AM (#46380023)
    Why shouldn't Ukraine just give up Crimea for the sake of national unity? Ukraine as a whole seems to be flying from one crisis to another, and it is seems to be torn between the pro-Russia and pro-West factions. Maybe Ukraine should just focus building its future as a Western country, and give up those territories where the population wants to live under Russian rule. Maybe later those areas can then join Ukraine if they so wish, like happened with the unification of West and East Germany.
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Why do you think that would satisfy Putin?

      • by Meditato (1613545)

        It wouldn't satisfy Putin. He took South Ossetia from Georgia and is likely still engineering a wider pro-Russia coup in Georgia. He engineered this situation in the Crimean Peninsula, and he's probably engineering other such incidents in other former soviet republics.

    • by ZarathustraDK (1291688) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @05:07AM (#46380145)
      Actually not a bad idea.

      If Ukraine ceded control of Crimea it would gain more unity, and have less trouble separating itself from Russia and foster its ties with the EU. Crimea is an autonomous region with its own government, so Ukraine stand to lose very little from there other than having a national minority there (they still have access to the Black Sea from the mainland). Russia OTOH gains very little: They already have a fleetbase there, and a national majority that'll follow their whim, that wont change with annexation. They will, however, have to contend with a large ukrainian minority that will be none too happy of their new overlords, and who can get reinforced from their homeland easily. Also, they'll obliterate any chance of moving at Ukraine as a whole, because this action will fan anti-russian sentiment.

      All in all, the move on Crimea is a provocation from Russia trying to destabilise Ukraine. They may end up getting Crimea, but if they fail to throw Ukraine into chaos, then they come out of this the loser.
      • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @05:37AM (#46380223) Homepage Journal
        A split would work well. The pro Western faction can be happy under US protection. The EU can rush in with loans (banker bail in) and generations in the region return to having laws passed from EU vs Soviet Union.
        New pipeline deals with a new, split, weak Ukraine start to look amazing to the EU :)
        The US gets NATO very near Russia under the cover of a new, split, weak Ukraine "invite".
        Other parts go to Russia, Russians in the area feel safe, Russia keeps its mil happy with vital areas still been in Russian hands.
        Win win win win for bankers with new 'loan' energy contracts, the USA, Russia, EU .... Ukraine escapes the horror of the Soviet Union only to be occupied in parts by the USA, EU and Russia.
        Fun and years of extra funding for CIA, FSB and MI6 too.
    • by guacamole (24270) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @05:38AM (#46380227)

      I wonder the same. Crimea is historically neither Russian nor Ukrainian. It was populated by Tatars who constantly launched attacks against everyone north of them. Once they burned Moscow to ground. It was conquered by Russian Empire in 18th century culminating a rivalry that lasted for centuries. Crimea was defended by Russian Empire in the Crimean War of the 19th century. A lot of Russian blood was spilled there, and nationalist politicians in both Russia and Ukraine constantly manipulate the popular sentiment. It's a big problem for Ukraine.

      However, I can see one reason why Ukraine may be reluctant to part with Crimea. It could only be a beginning of further partition of Ukraine. For example, once in control of Crimea Russia and its brethren in Ukraine could start a new campaign now to transfer the cities of Kharkiv and Donentsk to Russia, again both heavily dominated by Russians, and so on. The nationalist Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has said many times that he sees a division of Ukrain where the west Ukraine has capital in Lviv, surrounded by 4-5 west Ukrainian provinces. No matter what happens, this conflict will go on for a LONG time...

  • by msmonroe (2511262) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @04:34AM (#46380057)
    Isn't this what the U.S. did in Grenada?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]
    Thatcher sent a message to Reagan: This action will be seen as intervention by a Western country in the internal affairs of a small independent nation, however unattractive its regime. I ask you to consider this in the context of our wider East/West relations and of the fact that we will be having in the next few days to present to our Parliament and people the siting of Cruise missiles in this country. I must ask you to think most carefully about these points. I cannot conceal that I am deeply disturbed by your latest communication. You asked for my advice. I have set it out and hope that even at this late stage you will take it into account before events are irrevocable. (The full text remains classified.)
  • by Freultwah (739055) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @07:16AM (#46380433) Homepage
    Crimea's only freshwater source is the Dnieper River in Ukraine via the North Crimea Canal. The peninsula is not connected to mainland Russia in any way, only to Ukraine via the Isthmus of Perekop, a 5 to 7 km wide strip of land. Without the canal, there is no water on the peninsula if you discount bottled Evian. Desalination is too costly and only possible in coastal cities. Therefore, in order to secure water supply to the newly re-grabbed piece of land, Russia needs to secure the canal and the Kakhovka Reservoir in mainland Ukraine, which means occupying, well, more land.
    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @08:59AM (#46380671)

      This is overstating things. Water rights are an old story in many places. People work out having other countries upstream of them, even unfriendly ones. Hell, even India and Pakistan manage. And the only *land* access to the Crimea is over the Isthmus of Perekop, but it is quite accessible across the Kerch Strait, which is very narrow (less than three miles wide), and is serviced by frequent and regular ferries. There are proposals to bridge it as well (it's been bridged in the past).

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