I have been covering the Ukrainian Crisis since it began, and this is the 5th post I have done about it. I have been on top of this because I believe that it is a pivotal event in history, and I hope I will have some impact on what occurs.
On Sunday, March 1st, the Russian Parliament unanimously voted to approve the use of military action in Ukraine. Before this, troops without insignias took over airports, government buildings, and other infrastructure on the Crimean Peninsula.
By late Sunday, Russian forces had “complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula,” according to a top US official. The official also said that the United States estimates Russia currently has around 6000 ground forces on Crimea.
The interim Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, spoke out, saying that “This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country.”
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations said that his nation is going to require more than diplomatic help.
“We are to demonstrate that we have our own capacity to protect ourselves … and we are preparing to defend ourselves,” Yuriy Sergeyev said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And nationally, if aggravation is going in that way, when the Russian troops … are enlarging their quantity with every coming hour … we will ask for military support and other kinds of support.”
Russia is violating international law. They are reneging on the 1994 Treaty signed by Russia, The United States, and the United Kingdom that protected Ukraine’s sovereignty. They are violating the borders of another nation, and are trying to conquer it.
The crisis has become precedence for the governments in the West. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone for 90 minutes this weekend, and Obama made clear that continued Russian violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community. The Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, is going to speak to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Both of those nations neighbor Ukraine.
I believe that the first step we need to take is to expel Russia from the G8 and G20. Starting at a one-year suspension, if Russia continues the invasion, it would be expanded.
The next step would be to impose international sanctions on Russia. The most important of these would come from the EU, because 75% of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Russia come from the EU.
Then, NATO needs to reinstate missile defense systems in Poland, increase NATO troops in areas neighboring Russia, and draw a line between Poland and Ukraine. These actions must be taken to show that we mean what we say. Actions such as these would show Putin that our red lines actually do exist and that we will isolate Russia. A strong NATO showing along the border would show that any further aggression would be met with deep consequences.
After this, I do not know. Do we want to enter another war, or does containment work better? Do we prefer a Second Cold War or an actual war over Ukraine? These are our only options if Russia annexes Crimea.
The future depends on the decisions we make at this time. If we make the right ones, democracy and freedom will survive.