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Ukraine on brink of ‘very dangerous conflict,’ warns Ukrainian member of parliament

March 18th, 2014
04:40 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Ukraine is at the beginning of a “very dangerous conflict,” Ukrainian member of parliament and former foreign minister Petro Poroshenko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“Several weeks ago we had a guarantee that nothing [would] happen with the Crimea. Several weeks ago we had [a situation] that there is not any military presence on Ukrainian territory, including the Crimea.”

A Ukrainian officer was killed at a Crimean military base on Tuesday, and a second person injured, by armed men in masks.

Ukraine’s armed forces then announced that it had authorized units stationed in Crimea to use weapons “to protect and preserve the life of Ukrainian soldiers.”

Ukraine on edge of 'dangerous conflict'

“We have a feeling that we are at the beginning of a very dangerous conflict. And we should do our best to stop this process.”

The Kremlin now says that Ukraine’s Crimea region is part of Russia, and President Vladimir Putin signed a draft annexation agreement on Tuesday, which still needs the Duma’s rubber stamp.

Poroshenko, a self-made billionaire who runs a confectionary empire, tops opinion polls as a potential Ukrainian president. The country is set to hold elections to replace the interim government at the end of May.

“I strongly believe that this is not only Ukrainian territory is now threatened,” he said. “Now under attack can be any country in the European Union, including other parts of Ukraine. That’s why we should think that it can never happen again.”

After the death today of the Ukrainian officer in Crimea, Poroshenko said, the “cold period” of the conflict is over.

“The whole system of the European and global security is finished.”

After Crimea, 'global security finished'

Poroshenko called for a renegotiation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the West and Russia gave some security assurances to Ukraine in exchange for that country’s relinquishing of the left-over Soviet nuclear weapons left on its territory.

“Are you asking for your nuclear arsenal back?” Amanpour asked.

“Not at all. We are responsible politicians. Ukraine is a peaceful country. But we are now under aggression.”

Poroshenko said that there had been absolutely no negotiation between Russian and Ukrainian officials.

No talks between Russia and Ukraine

“Until today we don’t have any…signs from the Russian side for the direct negotiations. And this is the behavior of the aggressor.”

“I am a former diplomat, I am a former minister of foreign affairs, and I think this is absolutely irresponsible, this way of providing the relationship between Ukraine and Russia.”

He asked for Western powers to help arrange such talks, and demanded that Crimea be de-occupied by Russian forces. The territory, he said, would always remain Ukrainian.

“We now should be responsible to renew this trust, and [to] renew this trust this is the one demand: De-occupy the Crimea and cancel what’s happened today.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Global security was finished since iraq and afghanistan. What is this guy talking about ?

    March 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • Mary

      Since Yugoslavia and Kosovo

      March 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • Ashok

      Amen!

      March 19, 2014 at 11:38 am | Reply
  2. ak

    am now beging to realise that more of the responsible billioneers are from RUSSIA.

    March 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • rupert12

      Moscow claims that it is not orchestrating the crowds of Crimea. There is a reason why Russia is only interested in ethnic Russians of Crimea peninsula. Ethnic Russian Cossacks of Imperial Russian Army and Imperial navy were recruited in disproportionately high numbers from Crimean Russians (Cossacks) for the last three hundred years. There was a historical saying that if one wanted a job in the Russian Imperial army, one had to claim to be a Cossack Russian from Crimea. Moscow has only recently started taking interest in Crimea because Crimean ethnic Russians had occasionally accused Moscow of selling out on the wishes and aspirations of Crimea to not be part of any other nation other than Moscow controlled Russia.
      However, having said that, I also think that present group of noisy ethnic Russians living in Crimea are probably not descendents of the original Cossack Russians of Crimea. So many Cossacks were drafted into the Imperial Russian army in the past that I happen to think that the native Cossack Russians of Crimea have ceased to exist and become extinct.
      Also, I am of the opinion that Russia and Moscow are not at all interested in protecting the rights of ethnic Russians living either in Baltic nations or elsewhere in Ukraine outside of Crimea. Moscow’s opinion is if Russian speakers are being treated shabbily elsewhere, then it is their prerogative to come back. But Crimea, they believe, is where Cossacks came from prior to being widely dispersed after Ottoman empire invaded all of east Europe from Austria to Crimea. Probably the leaders of some Baltic States keep appealing to one or two western leaders to keep up the rhetoric against Moscow and the ethnic Cossacks of Crimea wanting to rejoin Moscow controlled Russia.
      Moscow had already said that it will not intervene if ethnic Russians are treated like second class citizens in the Baltic nations. Moscow keeps harping that it is only interested in aspirations of ethnic Russians of Crimea, which was historically inhabited by Cossack warriors prior to the advent into Crimea of the Ottoman Turks in the middle ages.
      The local Russians of Crimea may be slimy: They were dancing the ancient acrobatic dances and athletic war dances of Cossack warriors in order to pretend to be native Cossacks of Crimea. Most of the Crimean Cossacks may have already died in previous wars fighting for imperial Russia.

      March 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  3. Dan

    I just don't get it. Ukraine was given Crimea in the 50's. Most of Crimea is Russian. They've tried being Ukranian and they didn't like it. Now they want to try to go back to Russia. What's the big deal? Why is the EU and USA getting involved? These areas have been at war for centuries – it isn't gonna stop. Let them work it out, they are all adults.

    March 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • Factsseeker

      Exactly, Dan. Most people around the world who have watched how the US supported the 'will of the people' in Kosova and the South Sudan to split from their previous rulers to become independent states, are flabbergasted that the US is now so aggressively against the Crimeans also being allowed the 'will of the people' to leave the Ukraine. This blatant double standard can't be explained rationally. It can only be explained as an obsession by NATO to destroy Putin at any costs. This is big ego against big ego. It has nothing to do with justice or morality. We live in dangerous times. Both sides have nukes and the leaders appear to be egotistical maniacs on both sides.

      March 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Reply
      • caramba

        Except for the fact that both Kosovo and South-Sudan had suffered through several terrible civil wars before their independence, yeah, Crimea is just like those countries.

        Kosovo – Serbian military forces committed multiple acts of ethnic cleansing and other atrocities against the local populations (not saying that Kosovo militias are innocent, though). Any idea why Kosovo would have wanted independence from Serbia?

        South-Sudan – Locked in civil war for over 20 years between the Black South and the muslim / arab african North. Independence was the only way to try and put a stop to one of the longest running conflicts in modern history.

        Crimea – No ethnic cleansing. No civil war. Just Putin trying to solidify his grasp on the Crimea and therefore access to the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea; just Putin trying to hold onto and even multiply his power in the region. Those are the reasons the Western powers oppose these events.

        If you honestly think NATO is obsessed with 'destroying Putin,' I advise you to carefully remove your tinfoil hat and pick another username.

        March 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
      • Factsseeker

        Caramba, You completely miss the irony on Kosova to which Serbia has very strong historical and religious links. Also, South Sudan is more like the situation in Syria. The Muslim government of Sudan had to keep the warring rebels apart as much as fighting them. It is simplistic to talk about good guys and bad guys in both cases. Anyway, there are many other recent examples of countries who voted to break away from the main country and did it reasonably peacefully such as Yugoslavia and Czekoslovakia. The US has supported many other regime changes such as Egypt, Libya and even the Ukraine itself. No, there is someting more going on here. It is the Putin versus NATO battle this and it will cintinue, no matter what happens to Crimea. Yes, I am a factsseeker. I question entrenched views.

        March 19, 2014 at 1:44 am |
      • Ted Gemberling

        When the population of Kosovo is 89% Albanian, it's hard to argue that the ethnic makeup should be trumped by Serbia's "historical link" to the territory. I agree with caramba.

        March 19, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • Jeff

        caramba,

        I have heard this argument time and again, and I find it utterly ridiculous that ethnic bloodshed should be a required step before breaking away. Believe me, I am a huge fan of Kosovo independence, but ethnic cleansing happened on both sides in large numbers, and Kosovo is largely Albanian because they drove the ethnic Serbs out. I'd rather see Crimea go without bloodshed.

        In any case, the fact that one of the very first things that the interim government chose to do, with a thousand things actually needing to be done, was to restrict Russian language rights, simply gives credibility to their claims.

        March 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • yayaybats

      It is not actually whom Crimea belongs to or wants to belong to, it is the process. A referendum of cessation needs to be a well debated open process. 80 years ago there were not Ukrainians or Russians in Crimea to speak about until the forced March of the native population of which half died. Then Crimea was resettled by mostly Russians and Ukraine Peasants to farm the land. Occupying a country under false pretenses, terrifying the population who may oppose and putting out outlandish propaganda to those who agree with you and ignoring those who totally oppose you is not a way to shape a new territory in a state., I have lived in Ukraine in all sections while coaching baseball here for over 11 years. I live as much as a native as possible passing for Azerbaijani or Bulgarian whenever asked. Not that I know the truth, truth is so relative but I have direct observations and friends of the generation that wishes to see Ukraine become a real nation for the first time in its history, with a transparent government, taxes that actually rebuild the society, some social and economic freedoms and a chance to learn more directly from travel around the world. Average pay for a teacher in Kiev is under $400 a month, and food and rent is not that cheap if you do not have a flat through privatization a 2 room flat in a bad section of Kiev will cost more than $400 a month. This is a third world country, now if Putin can claim Crimea as Russian and Ukraine refuses to recognize it Putin can say Ukraine has started a war. The west will do nothing, this will destroy the west, no false illusions of protecting Ukraine it is about western standing in a changing world and of course China's position

      March 19, 2014 at 2:40 am | Reply
      • Yellowstoner

        Please do some research before you write something like that. Even 80 years ago Russians were majority of population on Crimea. At least take a look at wikipedia.

        March 19, 2014 at 3:12 am |
  4. dennis fook

    stop making problems againnst each other two worngs does not make it right, there are too much fighting in the world today because of money and power ,,russ do not take atvatage on weak country try to help them instead ,when you make war its is the children and older people as to pay the prize also other countrys as to help these inocent people,

    March 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  5. MI Snow

    You need to brush up on your 2oth century European history... google "...and this is my last territorial demand" re-occupation of Saarland, Sudentenland, Memeland, Austrian anchluss, etc.

    March 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  6. dennis fook

    remember that mother nature is watch over all who are playing bad ,notting in this world goes on pay,

    March 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  7. Alekx

    Check this yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1mq7clr8O8 (New ukrainian goverment, "SVOBODA" calling their political party... Maidan supporters... cool democracy? Pushing BOSS of 1tv MEDIA, to resign from his position, ect.

    March 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  8. Mariette

    For the people who want to believe that Crimean's citizens wanted to go back to Russia I want to tell them; " Have you ever seen, in any country, besides North Korea, a voting result of 96.7% ? I do not think so! These type of results come from intimidation and imposition, where there is not free will.

    March 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      I agree completely! No election anywhere for any reason gets a 96.7% majority vote! Pure intimidation and also vote buying. It's who counts the ballots that matter most anyway, not the ones who voted! Why was Crimea "invaded" by masked non-Russian, Russian troops? Why was there no ballot choice to remain with Ukraine? Freedom and justice are ideas the Russians have never been capable of understanding. Putin gets what Putin wants, end of story! Putin allows no political rivals, his "elections" are held to look good but are meaningless. The people of Crimea had no choice. Vote my way or get a gun in your face! Good job Putin! You won today, but what about tomorrow?

      March 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • Jacques

      Absolutely correct it was a referendum looking down gun barrels plus loads of people who dont live in the Ukraine being imported from other areas to polling stations then none of the Tartars 13% or Ukranians 23% themselves took part as they boycotted the vote and the ballot paper had no option of staying part of Ukraine

      March 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  9. Simonzee1

    This once rusted on supporter of Obama is juming ship. Very articulate but a little slow on the uptake.

    http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/03/17/former-obama-groupie-burns-her-2008-campaign-t-shirt-tells-off-criminal-in-chief-106842

    March 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  10. Simonzee1

    Obama should be more worried about America more than the Ukraine. What Obama does not realise is that to project strength is never more important than projecting integrity. Obama lied about Obamacare details. He has been holding back the truth on Benghazi. He is using agencies as a political weapon and the internet is his next target because he cannot place his censors within newsrooms.

    Try that as an appetiser before we deal with the main course which is the internet.Obama is giving up control of the internet so that it will not come back on him when the crackdown on the free voice and individual empowerment begins.

    The idea is to issue directives to member states on internet controls behind the scenes. What this will mean is the fracturing of the internet into many parts so it is no longer becomes a universal platform for anyone but major coroporations and special interests.

    Another step in direction of exporting America’s tools for influence to the U.N and E.U.At every turn he is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.You Obama….Hollywood groupies don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear.

    At last 2008........2014 this Obama follower has seen the light.

    http://www.zdnet.com/analysis-what-exact-control-over-the-internet-is-the-us-giving-up-and-is-it-bad-or-not_p2-7000027366/Reply

    March 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • Marsh

      I was wondering how long it would take before Obamacare would be labeled as the culprit in this crisis. Not long.

      March 19, 2014 at 5:05 am | Reply
  11. saladin

    Is there collective amnesia? This Ukraine government is a fascist junta that was installed by a violent coup.

    March 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      I disagree! The Yanokovich regime used their authority to rob the country for their own benefit. The Golden Haired Julia was no better. When thieves occupy the government they must be removed. Waiting around for the next elections would only give the thieves time to move their ill gotten gains out of the country. Same in Russia. Ukraine reports as much as $80 billion disappeared without a trace under Yanokovich. This is equal to their entire national debt! Where did it go? Nobody knows.

      March 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply
    • Kutukita

      Right you are, Saladin! Can any American imagine that a politian somewhere in New Mexico tells children that all Juanitos should call themselves exclusively Johnnies or escape to Mexico otherwise? In the Ukraine it's quite possible: not long ago local politician and, former communist Irene Farion said this at a kindergarten! And new Kiev authorities plan to nominate her to a post of Ukraine Culture Ministry!

      March 19, 2014 at 2:11 am | Reply
      • Kutukita

        P.S. Farion's speech can be viewes (in Ukrainian) at http://video.bigmir.net/show/396272/

        March 19, 2014 at 2:16 am |
  12. rcoleman1989

    why cant the west stay out of other countries affairs.

    March 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  13. fercamp

    Some people loves to be as a clown and likes to tell us jokes/stories about someone they think/judge mistakenly as bad guys. They are realy creative. So, they want to mask the other side, the good guys.

    March 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  14. southstar

    why cant west say out lol...bush iraq,etc...no wonder,but this is diffrent united states didnt conoquer land anywhere just economical interests,putin wanyts to rebuild sovietunion.,and he scare me alittle.

    March 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  15. Name*k james

    We don't want no war and no crime,earth's crying for peace and right now is the time.My brothers and my sisters let us all unite listen sweet reggae music and praise the almighty high.don't bother with no guns please don't bother with no knives,let's chant the reggae music til a morning light.for the reggae music's sweet to make you move your dancing feet and you know the reggae music is JAMAICA'S heart beat ,it makes us happy when sometimes we would have weapted we just turn up the volume and rock to the beat and sing.

    JAMAICA peace and love always.

    March 18, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  16. ARTUS

    After 1918, the world was absolutely convinced that another war was just not possible ("La der des der" they said in France (the last of the last). Then in 1945, we were convinced that the world had learned. What's next? I just don't think we are any smarter or better than we were in 1940, regardless of the progress made. People are people, and it has never been a major task for any government to influence or even control their people's actions and reactions. Russia is good at it, (and has an extensive background in doing so for 70 years), but so are the US and EU.

    March 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  17. rob

    the us-eu war of words makes the ukrainian nationalists feel, they might get help by allowing their remaining soldiers on crimea to shoot.
    the only outcome of war mongering would be losing the whole eastern part of a country that got its borders defined by the soviet union.
    given then hysteria already mounted by the west putin would not hesitate...

    March 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • southstar

      For some reason they think nato will help them so they feel they can fire shots against the russians,dangerous spiral.Nato wont help until countries are threathened.poland,romania,and that can happened really fast ,then it doesnt matter what nato wants ,this is so dangerous.

      March 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  18. mike

    Time to send NATO into Ukraine.

    March 18, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      This is the one thing sure to get Putin's attention - grant Ukraine provisional membership in NATO. This would become permanent only if Ukraine becomes a truly democratic nation like Poland. Crimea is going to belong to Russia, but the line must be drawn against any further Russian land grabs against Ukraine.

      March 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  19. Jim

    Honestly I'm not one to wish for war as I served through 3 of them, but I was hoping for a President that would have responded by putting boots on the ground and said I dare you to cross this line. This situation is going to expand past Crimea and into more parts of Ukraine, all in the name of protecting Russian speaking Ukrainians.

    March 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Reply
    • EDNR

      Sadly, this situation will require armed resistance. Putin will surely look to annex Ukraine by suggesting they have invaded Crimea. Additionally, think of Crimea's location. How do you supply Crimea with food ,water and energy? Through Ukraine. That's not going to work too well. So Putin will assert he must have eastern Ukraine to open a supply route to Crimea! It can only get worse.

      March 19, 2014 at 8:28 am | Reply
    • AC

      When Hitler invaded France prior to the start of WWII, it would have taken little more than a police force to stop his actions. If the west had acted then, he would have been stopped in his tracks, and his march arcross Europe and Africa would not have happened. As it was, the West hesistated, not wanting conflict, and Hitler gained momentum and confidence. By the time the West reacted, it was too late – WWII.
      We are once again in this situation in Europe. By actiing swiftly now, the West can prevent Putin's expansion to the West. If we hesistate, and allow him to gain momentum... Well, we have seen this before.

      March 19, 2014 at 9:00 am | Reply
      • deep blue

        Momentum? Taking over Crimea does not strengthen Russia's position internationally. It does not strengthen its military. This crisis in Crimea does not make taking over other areas easier for Russia.

        March 19, 2014 at 11:31 am |
  20. Jim

    I like prpperoni pizza.....

    March 19, 2014 at 12:18 am | Reply
  21. Jay

    Is this the start of WWIII ? Russia cannot back down and with the noises coming out of EU and the US, they can't back down either. There is no face-saving solution for all parties concerned. It is usually in these situations that things get out of hand.

    March 19, 2014 at 12:56 am | Reply
    • Marsh

      There is a possible exit. Crippling multilateral sanctions on Russia that, over time will take its toll on Russia's already weakened economy. The WH and Europe are correct in pursuing it in gradual steps. Yes, there will be an impact on the economies of both Europe and the USA. That option is still better than full scale war. There is also option of just not honoring the1994 Budapest Memorandum the US, Europe, Russia, and Ukraine signed. But then that action would weaken all treaties. After all, a Treaty is not worth the paper it's written on if the signatories can arbitrarily walk away from it.

      March 19, 2014 at 5:01 am | Reply
  22. freddid nerk

    He must have been a bad politician and businessman. Putin won't negotiate with thugs in Kiev. Lets reverse what happened in Kiev, bring back Yanukovych and maybe dialogue can restart. Oh, by the way. Crimea is a done deal so get over it.

    March 19, 2014 at 2:42 am | Reply
  23. Hannce

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    March 19, 2014 at 4:42 am | Reply
  24. dhgfdgh

    تحذير
    قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!
    تحذير
    قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    why they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they use these informations in a way that may harm you?!
    تحذير قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!

    March 19, 2014 at 6:35 am | Reply
  25. MiGato

    Russia's representative at the Council of Europe Roman Kokorev stated that Russia will return the whole territory of Ukraine, Moldova and all former USSR republics, Finland, Poland, Baltic republics and Alaska.
    He did it on Facebook. In Russian his correspondence is here http://obozrevatel.com/politics/15083-predstavitel-rf-v-evroparlamente-rossiya-namerena-prisoedinit-alyasku-stranyi-baltii-finlyandiyu-i-polshu.htm

    March 19, 2014 at 7:35 am | Reply
  26. MiGato

    It's no more about Ukraine.
    But about security of the West itself.
    Two days ago Russian state TV boasted that Russia is the only country able to destroy the US 'to the ground' with nuclear weapons.
    Do you think the West needs to support the economy of such an insane country ?

    March 19, 2014 at 7:46 am | Reply
  27. Dan

    Don't stress mate, it starts and stops in Crimea. There are a mammoth of reasons for this. Don't be filled by media hype, Crimea is a totally different situation to Ukraine in every sense of the word. Let's do a deal, you shout me a holiday if I'm wrong, and I will shout you a holiday to Australia if I'm wrong... :-)

    March 19, 2014 at 8:56 am | Reply
  28. rupert12

    Crimeans may be opportunists in wanting to leave Ukraine.. Ukraine is bankrupt. Ukraine owes Russia millions of dollars for importing of subsidised gas and heating oil and petroleum imports. After joining Russia, they will get free or cheaper gas and heating oil ande petroleum products. Moscow claims that it is not orchestrating the crowds of Crimea.
    There is a reason why Russia is only interested in ethnic Russians of Crimea peninsula. Ethnic Russian Cossacks of Imperial Russian Army and Imperial navy were recruited in disproportionately high numbers from Crimean Russians (Cossacks) for the last three hundred years. There was a historical saying that if one wanted a job in the Russian Imperial army, one had to claim to be a Cossack Russian from Crimea. Moscow has only recently started taking interest in Crimea because Crimean ethnic Russians had occasionally accused Moscow of selling out on the wishes and aspirations of Crimea to not be part of any other nation other than Moscow controlled Russia.
    However, having said that, I also think that present group of noisy ethnic Russians living in Crimea are probably not descendents of the original Cossack Russians of Crimea. So many Cossacks were drafted into the Imperial Russian army in the past that I happen to think that the native Cossack Russians of Crimea have ceased to exist and become extinct.
    Also, I am of the opinion that Russia and Moscow are not at all interested in protecting the rights of ethnic Russians living either in Baltic nations or elsewhere in Ukraine outside of Crimea. Moscow’s opinion is if Russian speakers are being treated shabbily elsewhere, then it is their prerogative to come back. But Crimea, they believe, is where Cossacks came from prior to being widely dispersed after Ottoman empire invaded all of east Europe from Austria to Crimea. Probably the leaders of some Baltic States keep appealing to one or two western leaders to keep up the rhetoric against Moscow and the ethnic Cossacks of Crimea wanting to rejoin Moscow controlled Russia.
    Moscow had already said that it will not intervene if ethnic Russians are treated like second class citizens in the Baltic nations. Moscow keeps harping that it is only interested in aspirations of ethnic Russians of Crimea, which was historically inhabited by Cossack warriors prior to the advent into Crimea of the Ottoman Turks in the middle ages.
    The local Russians of Crimea may be slimy: They were dancing the ancient acrobatic dances and athletic war dances of Cossack warriors in order to pretend to be native Cossacks of Crimea. Most of the Crimean Cossacks may have already died in previous wars fighting for imperial Russia.

    March 19, 2014 at 11:59 am | Reply
  29. spacewiz

    Ukraine's interim government will not start the conflict unless they are pushed into action by their Western controllers. It is obvious in the West there are many people who stand to profit career-wise and/or financially from the conflict between West and Russia, and the rest who scream for war or tough sanctions are simply clueless masses influenced by propaganda in the media.

    March 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  30. best

    I'm really struggling to see what all the fuss is about. First of all, regarding the tel conversation between Urmas Paet (estonian foreign minister) and Cathy Ashton (Eu foreign policy chief) the snipers firing upon protesters in Kiev were infact from the new Ukrainian coalition – ( a group of brutal liberal neo-nazi fascits – aka Svoboda) who have been threatening the lives of russians and jews in the Ukraine...
    50 years ago crimea was a part of Russia, and those russians who remained in crimea still consider themselves Russians .... except without the benefits of much higher salaries and public services and standards of living..... therefore, shortly after the ousting of the former ukrainian president, these Russians and Jews in Crimea begin to get extremely worried that the neo-nazis will keep to their word...and Russia jumped in to offer a bit of light at the end of the tunnel – Russia gave the people of Crimea the chance to decide their own fates. And this happened how?? : Firstly within international laws and boundaries , secondly it was done so peacefully, no fighting, no protesting, no bribery or threat (which cant be proved otherwise thus far) and thirdly before history could repeat itself ... (... kosovo springs to my mind in this case ) International law is there, and should be applied BEFORE genocide is committed....... the people of Crimea voted to return home, and reap the benefits of a higher standard of living , so .... WHERE'S THE PROBLEM??? the problem is only one. Russian, once again (syria pops to mind) out manouvered the West, they did so according to law, without bloodshed..... and the only way the west can fight back is through dodgy propaganda and very one-sided journalism ... referring to putin as hitler or the anti-christ, constant references to the cold war, 'its because Putins suffers from short man syndrom' (the daily mail UK monday 17th mar edition)
    only time will tell what happens in the future... if the Crimeans end up better off or not, but they were given the opportunity to choose, and if it goes well for them then they should pat themselves on the back, if it goes badly?? Well, they will just have to dunk that tough coffee in a hot cup of tea..... I'm not saying that the Russians offered them this chance out of the goodness of their hearts, most certainly they received they're own advantages... but thats what everybody wants these days isnt it?? Advantage – Gold, Oil, or Military .... and we see it all the time – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lybia, Pakistan, but thats ok because it gains an advantage for the West and due to one sided journalism those thousands of lives lost in the process arent such a problem, the descending living standard of the population involved?' No big deal ....

    March 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  31. OBM

    After reading through the entire comments section, I come to the conclusion that we can't convince anyone else through these comments boxes. Not one reads the comments thinking if its right, I'm going to believe it, or side with it. The only thought running through our heads is how do I shut him up and shove my opinion in his head.

    There are four things being discussed here, lets sum them up:

    1. Russia authorized to conduct referendum?
    2. Authenticity of Referendum.
    3. What is Russia's interest?
    4. What is it with Western Intervention.

    Let us go over each of these now:

    1. Russia's Authority: It was a referendum where you ask the people yes or no. No harm done
    2. Authenticity: We can talk all we want but only a personal visit to Crimea and personal interview with people living there will tell.
    3. Russia's Interest: More land, access to sea, display of power and authority.
    4. Western Intervention: They dont like Russian display of power. Where was this intervention when US bombed entire countries for WMDs that never existed?

    March 19, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  32. rod

    Why CNN is not showing what happened at the Ukrainian state TV?

    March 20, 2014 at 12:37 am | Reply
  33. Jordan

    There is not much that can be done about Crimea. The important thing is to save the rest of Ukraine, and that is not easy thing to do. The economy is devastated, the country is very close to bankruptcy. We can also expect the rise of ethnic conflicts between Ukrainians and local Russians. Current Ukrainian economy is dependent of Russia. We should help Ukrainians to become economically independent from Russia and prevent ethnic violence and retaliations against local Russian population.

    The good thing is that (maybe) we learned a lesson. European NATO members should increase defense budgets. From Baltic to the Balkans, new NATO members have no real air forces. Poland is an exception with 50 fighters. Belgium and Netherlands have no tanks, etc. Also, all plans to shrink US Army to the smallest size since the attack on Pearl Harbour should be canceled.

    Another thing is that Europe should become less dependent from Russian gas and oil. Obama should allow LNG terminals.

    March 20, 2014 at 1:38 am | Reply
  34. Ivan

    Shame on America!
    You have refused in military support to Ukraine and, like an ostrich bury its head in the sand, when all rushed to search for the missing plane. The seeming things were in 1939 when you tried at any cost do not think about the war and the war came to your homes. History repeats itself.

    March 20, 2014 at 11:29 am | Reply
  35. Policeman

    Hahaha, World-policeman US failed, what a fun. If you read US strategical papers then you will find no words about democracy in the world or freedom. Only "domination" and "pursueing political and economic targets of US".
    Tweeter ban in Turkey (cencorship like in Stalin's Russia) -> not existing in US press,. What a fun to see real face of USA: no democracy and Guantanamo for all on the way of US profit.

    March 23, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  36. Guss

    With the non-chalant or do-little of the European countries as a result of vested interests (Russian Gas and Russian money running Cyprus offshore illicit banks), and US dragging its feet because there is no oil in Ukraine,lts straight forward and very naive if the billionaire and Ukraine don't demand their Nukes bad. The parliament is responsible for developing security policies to demand a nation and not relying on outside nations with cold fees ( as Ukraine is a non Nato member)for help.The ease of entry by Russian troops before the eyes of the whole world in Ukraine calls for renegotiation of the treaty,. The treaty was signed on good faith ,but ignorant of the fact of the dictator or fascist like Putin can move the goal post.I would advise the Ukrainians to demand max protection for UN/Nato as the minimum for trading in their weapons,their experience in the last 3 months as being some humiliation & and a bad PR for the signatories of the Budapst memorandum as it has exposed their nativity of future events

    March 30, 2014 at 5:59 am | Reply

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