Getting Real in the Ukraine

So the Ukraine’s murderous Russophile prime minster was driven out of Kyiv last week. Earlier today, the Ukraine parliament elected the opposition leader as PM. Everyone has been wondering what Russia is going to do now that they don’t have to pretend to be (sorta) nice for the Olympics.

I think we’re finding out:

Dozens of armed men seized the regional government administration building and parliament in Ukraine’s southern Crimea region Thursday and raised the Russian flag in a challenge to the Eastern European country’s new leaders.

Crimea, with its ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new political leadership in Kiev after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster Saturday.

The incident, coming a day after Russia ordered surprise military exercises on Ukraine’s doorstep, has raised fears about the push and pull of opposing allegiances in a country sandwiched between Russia and the European Union.

Ed Morrisey has more, including a now clear alliance between Ukraine’s ousted PM and Putin.

I don’t think Putin is going to do a full-on invasion of the Ukraine. A nation of 44 million people is a lot to handle, even for him. But I do think we’re going to get something like the 2008 South Ossetia War, with Russian military forces “assisting” the ethnically Russian Crimea to “independence” from the rest of the Ukraine, following by an ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians. The end result will be to give Russia effective control of the Black Sea but with the Ukraine less divided and firmly in the European sphere of influence.

There’s not a lot we can do about that, short of a massive and extremely dangerous war. I suspect we’ll protest and maybe send a carrier out there. But any real pushback would have to come from Europe and … that ain’t happening.

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  1. Section8

    But any real pushback would have to come from Europe and … that ain’t happening.

    At least the citizens of Europe will be out protesting. Oh wait, I forgot this is Russia, not America. Gotta keep their protesting strength for the real bad guy out there. And with these military cuts, save the hardware, drop the phony alliances. That would be some reasonable cuts.

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  2. InsipiD

    What’s the deal with it suddenly being Kyiv with nobody saying anything? Even my Chrome spell check doesn’t recognize that for Kiev. It’s Киев, or “Kiev,” to translate the letters.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    Yeah, I threw that in there. Not sure why the transliteration has changed.

    I haven’t put up a new post but this is now basically an invasion of the Crimea by Russia. I don’t mean to go all Godwin on everyone but this pattern is familiar:

    “We need to annex Austria to unite the German peoples.”
    “Uh, OK.”
    “We need strategically critical parts of Czechoslovakia because there are Germans there.”
    “Sure, I guess.”
    “We heard a rumor that Germans are being oppressed in Poland, so we invaded.”
    “Uh, wait a minute.”
    “Fuck it. We’re invading France.”

    Putin is peeling off chunks of surrounding countries on the excuse that there are Russians living there. I don’t think we’re looking at World War 3 and an invasion of the West. But I do think we are looking at an extremely aggressive posture and a threat to all of its neighbors.

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  4. balthazar

    MAn i hate to almost be on Russias side here but, you guys do know that the majority of people in easter and southern Ukraine are Ethnic russians, most of whom have dual citizenship, right? Also it wasnt Putin that gave the ukraine and ultimatum about the aid, it was the west.

    Putin was perfectly fine with allowing the west to help foot the bill with the aid package, it was the west that said take our or thiers, not both.

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  5. HARLEY

    From the look of things, Russia is going for a slow solid push method, to reenforce the Russian majority lands. and then through the necessary means the rest of the Ukraine.
    Historically, well in the last 200 or so the Crimea has been overseen and populated by Russians.
    The Russian are gonna protect their interests, as they should, and is expected. Stalin’s Purge of native Ukrainians and colonization of eastern Ukraine pretty much sealed the fate after these many years.
    Also Putin is not gonna let a fractured Ukrainians control the gas lines to Europe, this is a critical control point, much like the Coal field of Europe Prior to WW1 and oil fields prior to WW2… sad to say its all about resource control. Also the warm water port on Crimea. is something Russia will not let go, even if it means having it be detached like Kalingrad…

    This is all inertia, of choices made long ago.. and this if successful, for Putin will fuel his ego. whos next? Moldova? Belarus? the Baltic states?…maybe the old central Asian provinces?

    As for what we . or any one can do? … well not much…stomp or feet. bitch sent a strongly worded letter… with that said. Obamas warning to Putin and ,then his hey its happy hour, bellies his incredible lack of concern…wow just wow, if he been a R the media would be in a uproar…..

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  6. Section8

    MAn i hate to almost be on Russias side here but, you guys do know that the majority of people in easter and southern Ukraine are Ethnic russians, most of whom have dual citizenship, right?

    Same could be said for parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but I don’t think anyone would excuse Mexico coming in to settle things. If there was some real threat going on to the Russian people living there I could see the concern, but is that happening? Borders are borders. Now I do think your argument would work well in Europe where they turn a blind eye on any invasion unless there’s a hint of US involvement.

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  7. InsipiD

    Same could be said for parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but I don’t think anyone would excuse Mexico coming in to settle things.

    I disagree. There are a lot of people who would excuse Mexico coming in to settle things.

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