BREAKING: Ukrainian official: Government making plan to pull troops from Crimea as Russia takes control.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 19, 2014
#BREAKING: Ukraine developing plan to withdraw troops, civilians from Crimea: security chief— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) March 19, 2014
If Ukraine does indeed withdraw all their troops and civilians from the region, how will the Western world react? How will the White House? I mean, if Ukraine won’t defend her own borders -- as the nation’s defense minister pledged to do today -- why should the United States? (Then again, what else were they supposed to do?) Still, pulling troops out of the region is a clear sign that Ukraine is letting Russia annex territory with impunity. What kind of message does that send to Moscow? And won’t Putin only grow more emboldened?
Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia's treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian.
Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to linguistic tensions in another former Soviet republic comes at a highly sensitive moment.
Will President Putin use the same justifications he used in Crimea to annex other nations and territories? And if so, when will his lust for land and power and prestige be satiated?
Meanwhile, Russia is already administering Russian passports in "their" new territory (via the Kyiv Post):
Russia has started issuing Russian passports in Crimea, Russian Federal Migration Service Chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said. "Work has begun. We have issued some passports today," Romodanovsky told Interfax.
Is Putin’s annexation of Crimea a fait accompli? Certainly seems that way to me.
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