Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchysta on March 8th said the Ukraine is ready to negotiate with Russia “at any level” over the Crimea issue, the move followed announcements by India and China that they were officially backing Russia’ right to intervene in the Crimea. Deshchysta added that international mediation efforts over the issue have made some small steps forward, including progress in efforts to establish a contact group. He also said the mediation group membership had yet to be settled, and progress is fragile. But with over a third of the world’s population backing Russia, the Ukrainian Crisis is over.
The Diplomat on March 6th reported that a senior Indian official indicated support for Russia’s position in Ukraine. When asked for India’s official assessment of the events in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon responded: “We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them.” India and Russia are long-time “friends” and Russia is India’s top arms supplier. When India conducted their 1974 and 1998 nuclear tests, Russia was the only major country supporting India’s right of “self-defense.”
Earlier in the week, China’s Xinhua official news agency showed the nation’s support for Russia. China has intimated that the “revolutions” in the former Soviet Republics were “instigated by Western nations to oust unfriendly regimes.” The Middle Kingdom directly blames the “West” responsible for the current violence.
Russia continues to move ahead with their military and political plans for the Crimea. Russian troops rammed the gates and threw stun grenades at a Ukrainian missile defense base in Sevastopol. The attackers turned off the base power and cut telephone lines as they urged the 100 troops to surrender their weapons and swear allegiance to Russia. The Ukrainians barricaded themselves inside one of their barracks, and their commander began negotiations, Interfax said.
Russia also announced they have begun large-scale air defense drills along their border with Ukraine. The Russian Western Military District command announced the drills would include live fire. “It is for the first time that all air defense units from the district, including coastal defenses of the Northern Fleet, have gathered in one place,” commented Col. Oleg Kochetkov about the Western Military District’s largest-ever drill.
According to a briefing of Congress on March 3rd, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan told Congress that a 1997 treaty between Russia and Ukraine allows up to 25,000 Russia troops in the vital Crimea region and the CIA estimates that Russia only has about 20,000 uniformed soldiers in the region at this time.
President Barack Obama has said “Russia is on the wrong side of history.” But given Russian President Putin’s resolve and the support of India and China, it seems that Obama is on the wrong side of reality. With the Ukraine begging for negotiations “at any level,” Russia has been victorious and the Ukrainian Crisis is over.
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Chriss Street is teaching microeconomic at University of California, Irvine this spring from March 31 – June 8, 2014. Call Student Services at (949) 824-5414 or visit http://unex.uci.edu/courses to enroll!
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