Conflict in Crimea
Starting February 27th, the situation in Crimea in the south of Ukraine has intensified. Armed men have taken controlled of the parliament of the autonomous region of Crimea. A new prime minister has been selected and has since called on help from Russia to keep the situation calm. As developments unfold, New Eastern Europe will update this page.
Russia Annexes Crimea. What’s next for Ukraine?
Last Updated March 19th (18:40 CET)
– Ukraine announces it will quit the Commonwealth of Independent States – a Russian-led organisation for post-Soviet states. Ukraine also announced that they will consider creating a visa requirement for Russians wishing to enter Ukraine.
– US Vice President Joe Biden is on a visit to the region. He first met with Polish President Komorowski and Prime Minister Tusk. Later Biden met with President Toomas Ilves of Estonia and planned meetings March 19th with the presidents of Lithuania and Latvia. “World community condemns Russia’s continuing assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Biden said yesterday in Poland.
Estonian President Ilves with US Vice President Joe Biden (Photo via Twitter)
– Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to annex Crimea, explaining that the region was “always an inalienable part of Russia” and that it is vital to Russia’s security interests.
– Pro-Russian commandos shot one Ukrainian soldier and wounded another in the Crimean capital of Simferopol.
– Russia’s Constitutional Court will consider the constitutionality of the annexation agreement between Russia and Crimea.
March 16th 2014
– In a referendum, 96.7 per cent of the inhabitants of Crimea voted for the region to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
March 14th 2014
– On Friday March 14, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in London to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Crimea.
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 14, 2014
– US Vice President Joe Biden announced he will be visiting Poland on Tuesday March 18th.
– Below are some photos by Wojciech Kozmic – a Polish photojournalist in Ukraine, who works closely with New Eastern Europe.
March 11 2014
– The Crimea Assembly has voted to declare independence ahead of the March 16th referendum.
The declaration has three main points:
1. If in March 16th referendum, the decision is to join Russia – Crimea will announce itself as an independent, sovereign state with a Republican form of government.
2. The Republic of Crimea will be a democratic, secular and multi-national state which will be bound to maintain peace as well as multi-ethnic and multi-religious arrangements on its territory.
3. The Republic of Crimea, as an independent, sovereign state, should the results of the referendum allow it, will approach the Russian Federation to accept the Republic of Crimea as a new entity of the Russian Federation based on the appropriate international agreement.
– Viktor Yanukovych has given a press conference today, declaring that he is still president and commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army. “The May 25th presidential elections will be absolutely illegitimate,” Yanukovych said. Adding that he plans on returning to Kyiv and Ukraine, but only when the situation in the country allows.
– Ukraine’s parliament has passed a resolution calling for assistance from the signatory states of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum (United States, United Kingdom, Russia) which guarantees Ukraine’s unity.
– Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that he is ready to discuss the conflict in Crimea with Russia but that Russian authorities do not respond to any of his requests.
March 6th 2014
-Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has declared that his government will make it easier for ethnic Russians living abroad to gain Russian citizenship.
– Leaders of the 28 member states of the European Union met in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The EU leaders pledged support for the new Kyiv government and to freeze the assets of 18 Ukrainian leaders accused of embezzlement, including Viktor Yanukovych.
– Former United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton compares Putin to Hitler because of his stance regarding Crimea.
– On Sunday March 16th the people of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will vote in a referendum whether they want to join the Russian Federation and whether they want the Crimean Constitution of 1992 to be brought back.
March 4th 2014
– Because of the events in Ukraine, the Swedish air force has increased its patrolling of the area around Gotland.
– The government of Lithuania has banned 18 Ukrainian politicians responsible for violence in Kyiv from entering the country.
– Russia’ Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the West’s threats of sanctions will not change the Kremlin’s stance towards Ukraine.
– A group of Ukrainian troops approached the military base carrying flags and singing the Ukrainian national anthem. The Russians in turn gave them warning shots.
– Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has organised a press conference during which he said that there is no need to use military force in Crimea although Russia has that option.
– United States Secretary of State John Kerry has decided to travel to Kyiv to demonstrate the United States’ support for Ukraine.
– At the behest of Poland, the North Atlantic Council will meet in Brussels to discuss Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which calls for the sides of the pact to discuss the territorial integrity or political independence of any of the sides.
March 3 2014
– In an exclusive interview with New Eastern Europe, Andrew Wilson from the University College of London states ” I have a feeling that Russia has not thought this all through.” Read the full interview here: https://neweasterneurope.eu/articles-and-commentary/1118-russia-s-ill-prepared-invasion
– Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski during a press conference follwing an EU emergency meeting said: “Further escalation of the situation in Ukraine will have serious consequences for Russia.”
– Reports that Russia has given an ultimatum to Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea – they have until 05.00 March 4th to abandon their posts, or they will be attacked with force.
– Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly agreed to allow an OSCE observer mission.
– Finance ministers of the G7 countries have declared strong financial support for Ukraine.
– Polish Ministry of Defence has confirmed that no change in readiness of Polish military at this time.
– In Russia on Sunday during anti-war protests several hundred people were arrested in Moscow and dozens more in St. Petersburg.
March 2nd 2014
– Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, has announced this morning that Ukraine is at full combat readiness. Ukraine has called on all reserve units to activate and protect communities and key parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure.
– The US White House and Russia’s Kremlin confirm that a 90 minute phone conversation between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had taken place on March 1st.
– During the March 1st UN Security Council Meeting, US Ambassador Samantha Power has said: “it is time for Russian intervention in Ukraine to end”. She further called for international observers to be put on the ground to monitor the situation and investigate any of Russia’s claims.
March 1 2014
– Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov gave brief remarks to the press along with prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk: “We will do everything in order to protect all Ukrainian citizens.” He said that Ukraine “is ready to defend its sovereignty.” But urged that Ukraine does not want an armed confrontation with Russia and called for a stop to provocations.
– Ukraine’s Minister of Defence has called on Ukrainian military to be at highest state of alert; while UDAR leader, Vitali Klitschko has called for full mobilisation of military.
– Russian Federation Council approves President Putin’s request to deploy troops to Ukraine.
– Russian media are reporting the President Vladimir Putin has asked the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament, for permission to deploy troops in Ukraine – citing the “threat to the of Russian citizens of the Russian Federation.
– Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement reads: “Any decisions that will be taken in the coming days, including of military nature, could have irreparable consequences for the international order.”
– Airports in Crimea – In Sevastopol and Symferopol – are under the control of unknown military units, with no markings to distinguish where they are from. Air traffic is currently halted.
– For the last few days, armed people, presumably supporters of Russia, are occupying the local Crimean parliament.
– Reports and eyewitness accounts state that Russian fighter jets and helicopters have moved to positions on the Black Sea Fleet base in Crimea.
– According to the new government in Ukraine, these military movements represent an illegal violation of its airspace.
– Pro-Russian supporters have set up border controls between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine.
– In calls for de-escalation of the situation in Crimea, the new government in Kyiv has proposed diplomatic consultations with Russia, which Russia has turned down.
– US President Barack Obama has stated that “any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe”.