Will Anyone Stop Putin’s Aggression?
By Harold Hutchison
The Ukrainian government announced a recall of all reserve military forces as the Crimea crisis continued to heat up. However, new questions have been raised about how loyal the Ukrainian military may be.
According to media reports, the call-up was ordered as Russian troops surrounded a key Ukrainian base in Crimea with armored vehicles and infantry. The new Ukrainian government, which took power after pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power by the Ukrainian parliament, soon suffered a severe blow as a major naval unit defected.
Russia Today reported that the Ukrainian Navy’s flagship, the Hetman Sahaydachniy, had defected to Russia in accordance with orders from Yanukovych. The Krivak III-class frigate had been on a deployment to the Mediterranean. The reported defection leave the Ukraine with three Grisha-class corvettes, two Tarantul-class corvettes, two Pauk-class corvettes, a pair of amphibious ships, a half-dozen patrol craft, one ancient Foxtrot-class submarine, and an unfinished Slava-class cruiser.
On the diplomatic front, the United States announced a suspension of participation in meetings intended to prepare for an upcoming G8 meeting in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Meanwhile, the London Telegraph reported that the Ukrainian government announced that it was seeking help from the United States and the United Kingdom, while also seeking assistance to secure the “safety of its nuclear assets.”
The Ukrainian government also warned that they were on the “brink of disaster” as the crisis seemed to edge closer to war. "Any attempt to attack military installations is in fact direct military aggression against our country and the Russian military and the Russian leadership will be held responsible," the London Telegraph quoted acting President Oleksander Turchinov as saying.
NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen announced that the North Atlantic Council would meet to discuss the events. “What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. It threatens peace and security in Europe. Russia must stop its military activities and its threats,” he said in a statement.