Military Crimea
The Russian region of Crimea is a region noted for its high Russian population and its continued support of recently ousted and currently missing president, Viktor Yanukovych. On February 28, it was reported that independent security forces entered the port towns of Simferopol and Sevastopol. The forces entered the region in army regalia, with no indicating patches, leaving their origins a mystery to Ukraine and many international observers.

Allegations are being placed against the Russian government. They are accused of hiring mercenary forces to take control of several airports in the area.

The alleged goal was to prevent pro-revolution protesters and forces from entering the area and preventing the semi-autonomous region of Crimea from falling under the control of the newly formed Pro-Western national government. Western Ukraine views lean primarily pro-Western, an ideological divide from the eastern portion of Ukraine, which shares a more cohesive bond with their Russian neighbors.

Russia had a critical interest in the overthrown government.

Yanukoyvch rejected a deal that would of brought the nation into closer relation with the European Union, a deal that the Russian government and Vladimir Putin were strongly against. The Crimean population is ardently against distancing relations with Russia, and with the nations autonomous attitude coupled with their own government structure, the forces were moderately welcomed.

To keep from creating an international incident and from preventing blame, unconfirmed sources claim Russia hired private security forces.

The forces are asserted to be from “Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana a “private security contracting bureau inside the Russian interior ministry that hires mercenaries to protect Russian Navy installations and assets in Crimea.” Sergei Lavror denounced allegations placed against Russia, arguing Russia was in no way involved, and the only Russian or Russian-condoned forces in the area are in the Black Sea monitoring the ongoing situation.

Ukrainian government officials have condemned the actions, considering the “non-invasion” as a breach of “international norms” and as a way for Putin to enact Russian control in its former Soviet state. United States President Barack Obama quickly denounced the invasion by the Russian federation, stating it would be a “clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine and of international laws.”

Russian and U.S. relations have been at an all-time low, following revelations the U.S. was engaging in covert intelligence gathering in Russia through the National Security Agency as well as Russia’s refusal to hand over fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

A subtle warning was made by President Obama, stating there “will be costs” to an invasion. It is considered by some as a visible warning to Russia for military intervention, Other observers view it as a reminder that the invasion could further destabilize Ukraine, a nation that has already dealt with bloody and costly civil unrest.

– Joseph Abay

Sources: The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast World News, CNN, The Guardian
Photo: Dailymail

Ukrainian Government
Following new legislation that outlawed the right of protest in Ukraine, people have taken to the streets in a display of anger and violence. The situation seems to have gotten out of hand for Ukrainian police and officials, as they are unable to peacefully control the protests. Resorting to brute force to hinder the people, the international community is beginning to call the situation a human rights violation for the people of Ukraine.

International leaders such as United States Vice President Joe Biden are stepping in to urge Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to resolve the issue peacefully. Biden also went on to state that relations between Ukraine and the U.S. may be hurt as a result of the Ukrainian government’s treatment of the issue. Unfortunately for Azarov, the people are calling for the resignation of Azarov as well as other government leaders.

Opposition and government leaders have met multiple times to try to reach agreements on the issue, but no progress has been made as of yet. After meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko states that the President disagreed to the demands of resignation for both he and his cabinet members. Nevertheless, Yanukovych is determined to continue negotiation talks to reach a resolution.

Recently, news sources in Ukraine reported Yanukovych “has promised a government reshuffle, an amnesty to detained activists and other concessions, after protests against his rule engulfed Ukraine.” However, opposition forces have denied Yanukovych’s offers and seek to continue protesting.

In the city of Lviv, hundreds of protestors gained control of regional governor Oleh Salo’s office and forced him to sign off a resignation letter. Opposition movements in various cities across Ukraine have also sought to gain control of regional government offices but have not been as successful.

Although negotiation talks have stalled, what is certain is that opposition forces are not expected to give in quietly to Yanukovych’s offerings. The protesters are calling for early elections to replace their government and until then, protests are expected to continue.

Jugal Patel

Sources: Voa News, CNN, FOX
Photo: Microsoft