The tension between Russia and Ukraine only seems to be getting worse. On Tuesday, president Vladimir Putin said he would use military force in Ukraine as a last resort. He said Russians are authorized to protect parties who are living in “terror” in Ukraine, but such drastic measures are not needed right now.
Russians fired off warning shots and Russian ships blockaded the strait separating the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula from Russia. A soldier fired three volleys in retaliation to Ukrainian soldiers approaching the base near Sevastopol. Shortly after, a confrontation occurred. Two commanders got into a heated argument and Russian soldiers leveled rifles and rocket grenade launchers at the opposite party. The Ukrainians eventually left the scene. No one was hurt. Even though a war has yet to take place, young men in Kiev are signing up for military duties and gearing up to protect their country.
President Barack Obama said Russia did express interest in Ukraine, but Putin did not have the authorization to intervene militarily. The EU also believed Russia had violated international laws by mobilizing troops after the incident with Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Obama stated Putin’s different set of lawyers and interpretations didn’t seem to be fooling anybody.
On Tuesday, Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel worked on a possible resolution to the situation. The U.S. President discussed Russia pulling its forces in Crimea back to their bases, allowing international monitors to ensure the rights of ethnic Russians are protected. The Group of Seven industrialized nations are considering meeting in the future. If this occurs, Russia could be excluded.
In a live interview, Putin said what is going on in Ukraine is an “anti-constitutional” coup. Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia last week, has given up his power before signing the agreement Feb. 21. “I told him he had no chances to be reelected. So I don’t understand why the opposition needs to seize power by force,” Putin said.
He also mentioned Yanukovych would have been killed if Russia did not offer him refuge. During the sit-down with a local news channel, Putin again reassured reporters that Russia was not going to war with Ukraine and military forces would only be used as a last resort against the threats. He did, however, warn other countries about taking charge of the country. “Those who are going to impose sanctions must think first, as the harm will be mutual in the modern world,” he said.
Earlier, Putin ordered troops back to their bases. The soldiers were involved in a military exercise in Western Russia. Putin stated the armed men who seized building and other facilities were local groups.
A G8 meeting is scheduled for June. The U.S. President will not be attending unless a Russian reversal in the Ukraine crisis happens. After the reassurance from Putin, Asian and European markets recovered from deep losses Monday.
Military forces might be a last resort in Ukraine, but the situation is far away from full restoration.
By April Littleton