Heading Towards a Crimean War?
By Harold Hutchison
Russian troops are now in the Crimea. The movement, reportedly admitted to by the Russian government, raises the stakes in the crisis, which has seen former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych flee to Moscow after he was deposed.
According to media reports, Russia admitted that naval infantry assigned to the Black Sea Fleet, a portion of which is based in Sevastopol, which is located in Crimea, has been deployed. Photos and video taken in the Ukraine show various BTR armored personnel carriers deployed.
Armed men have also been reported to be guarding airports near the Crimean capital of Simferopol and the base at Sevastopol. Reports also indicated that armed men had taken control of government buildings in Simferopol. Russia did admit that a small number of naval infantry had taken positions outside a Ukrainian Coast Guard base.
The actions come as Yanukovych continues to blast the popular revolution that forced him out of office, including declaring the presidential election scheduled for 25 May as illegal.