|Ukraine, Crimean Peninsula|
(Image: Map of Ukraine)
Situation in Ukrainian Crimea continues to escalate despite the demand of Ukrainian government to withdraw Russian troops and increasing Western pressure and total refusal of the world to recognize the results of the illegitimate referendum held on Sunday in Crimea.
Russia continues to increase its military presence deploying new troops and heavy military technique to Crimea and along the borders with Ukraine, as Ukrainian military deployed its forces to protect the borders and territories of Ukraine and stop Russian military aggression.
After Crimean illegitimate referendum over the changing of the legal status of Crimea Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree about annexation of Crimea to Russia as a subject of Russian Federation, claiming that this decision is based on the “political will of people of Crimea”, who gave their voices for Russia during the referendum. Signing of this decree was held in Moscow Kremlin, in presence of Crimean separatist pro-Russian puppet leaders Aksyonov and Konstantinov. Putin has also delivered a speech after signing the document, stating that Russia responds to the will of people in Crimea to support them and that Russia will continue to “protect” Russians and Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. Russia respects territorial integrity and borders of Ukraine and would like to build friendly relationships with Ukraine, claimed Vladimir Putin, refusing to recognize the fact of military occupation of Crimea by Russian troops. In addition to that Putin stated that Russia is surprised by the reaction of the Western countries “scaring” Russia with sanctions, and claimed that these sanctions are unacceptable in the democratic world, accusing West of ignoring the fact, that “ultra-nationalist, fascist and neo-Nazi” political forces came to power in Ukraine after ouster of Yanukovich.
|Igor Tenyukh, Ukrainian Minister of|
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Yevgen Perebyinis has issued a statement regarding the latest events and Putin’s speech and stated that this speech had nothing to do with the sober mind. He added also that Russian move is unprecedented, and its military aggression and intentions in Ukraine threaten not only Ukraine, but the entire world, totally destabilizing the security and law situation and violating the terms of international law. He called on the international community and organizations to hold all the possible harsh measures in order to stop Russian aggression.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Parliament will gather for the extraordinary session over the Crimean crisis and Russian military aggression, as Russian soldiers started assaults against Ukrainian soldiers based in Crimea. Several military bases and units with Ukrainian soldiers have been attacked with the use of force, as families of Ukrainian soldiers and officers are being forced to leave their homes in Simferopol and other cities as well. One of the military bases in Simferopol was attacked on Tuesday by Russian troops, and at least one officer was seriously wounded and one soldier was shot dead, as Russians have opened fire and used also snipers on the roofs of the neighboring buildings.
Thus, death of the first Ukrainian soldier, killed by Russians, became the cause for Ukrainian government and National Security and Defense Council to issue a decree officially allowing Ukrainian soldiers to use weapons in Crimea, as military operation is considered to be started by Russian troops, according to the statement of Ukrainian Minister of Defense Igor Tenyukh.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has declared that the conflict with Russia has turned from the political into the military stage, and Putin and his authorities are responsible for it. Ukrainian soldiers haven’t opened fire first, though they had all the rights to do so due to the foreign military invasion, and the first deadly shot was made by the Russian side. Putin is responsible for it, especially after his Tuesday’s speech on the annexation of Crimea. Neither Ukraine, nor the civilized countries of the world have recognized the “referendum” and annexation of Crimea to Russia, and Crimea will remain Ukrainian territories, stated Mr. Yatsenyuk. He also addressed USA. Great Britain and Russia as the countries-guarantors of Ukrainian borders, territorial integrity and sovereignty according to the 1994 Budapest Treaty and demanded to support Ukraine and to form special military commission in order to resolve the crisis in Crimea.
|Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukrainian Prime Minister|
Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov has declared on Tuesday, that temporally occupation of Crimea by Russian forces will not change the status of Crimea, as Crimea will always remain Ukrainian territory, and Putin won’t be able to realize his plans and intentions. He’ll be also held accountable for all the military crimes committed by the Russians in Crimea, as the crisis turned into military aggression on Ukrainian Peninsula.
Meanwhile, international community has strongly condemned Russian recent moves and escalation of the situation in Crimea and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories. World’s countries including USA, EU countries, Canada and other refused to recognize the results of the illegitimate Crimean “referendum” and annexation of Crimea to Russia. Several countries have already imposed sanctions against Russian authorities, including USA, EU, Canada, Australia, Japan.
As Russian refuses to de-escalate the situation and to resolve the crisis peacefully and through the talks, Western countries claimed to impose additional wider and harsher sanctions against Russia, and these sanctions will include visa restrictions, economic sanctions, freezing of financial assets and stop of cooperation with Russia.
Thus, Norway has declared that it stops cooperation with Russia and the talks regarding the free trade zone due to Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Russia was also excluded for the G7, and the next meeting of the countries-members of G7 will be held over the situation in Ukraine.
William Hague, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, one of the states-guarantors of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity according to the Budapest Treaty, has stated that Great Britain also stops its cooperation and cancels joint military trainings with Russia and will demand on imposing of the new package of wider and harsher sanctions against Putin’s Russia. These sanctions could be imposed till the end of this week, after the meeting of European Council.
EU along with USA refuses to recognize the results of the “referendum” and annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by Putin. President of European Parliament Herman Van Rompuy and Head of European Council Jose Manuel Barroso have issued a joint statement on Tuesday on the latest events, strongly condemning Russia’s policies and moves and demanded Russia to respect Ukrainian borders, territorial integrity and sovereignty. It was also stated, that EU will consider the new package of sanctions against Russia, though hope to resolve the crisis diplomatically remains.
|Stefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and|
Neighborhood Policies of EU
(Image: Voice of America)
PACE also condemns Putin’s annexation of Crimea and calls for the talks in order to resolve the crisis.
USA have also expressed strong condemnation of Russian aggression as Russia threatens not only Ukraine, but the entire world, and Russian annexation of Crimea will have serious consequences for Russia, according to the recent statement of Jay Carney, official representative of US White House.
UN General Assembly in its turn has cancelled its meeting, planned for the 19 March, and instead of it there will be an extraordinary meeting of UN Security Council regarding the situation in Ukraine and Russian military aggression.
Meanwhile, EU is ready to sign the political part of the Association Agreement with Ukraine on 21 March, as the economic part needs some consultations. Representative of Ukraine in EU Kostyantyn Eliseev stated that the economic part of the Agreement could be signed till the end of this year. He also added that the political part of the document to be signed on 21 March has the terms about guarantees of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
Stefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy of EU, has stated on Tuesday, that EU has to offer Ukraine membership due to the situation in the country and the recent events. “If we are willing to really change the Eastern part of Europe, which has experienced the recent events, we should use the strongest instrument of EU policies, which is enlargement”, declared Mr. Füle, - “It has unprecedented and strong stabilizing power”. European Commission in its turn confirmed the proposal to accept Ukraine as a member of EU.