03 March 2014

Ukraine: 3/3 morning update

The Russians are sealing up their hold on Ukraine.

Pro-Russian soldiers seem to further cement their control over the strategic region — that also houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet — by seizing a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch about 20 kilometers (12 miles) by boat to Russia, intensifying fears that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula. It comes as the U.S. and European governments are trying to figure out ways to halt and reverse the Russian incursion.

The soldiers at the terminal refused to identify themselves on Monday, but they spoke Russian and the vehicles transporting them had Russian license plates.

Russia has taken effective control of the Crimean peninsula without firing a shot. Now, the fears in the Ukrainian capital and beyond are that that Russia might seek to expand its control by seizing other parts of eastern Ukraine. Senior Obama administration officials said the U.S. now believes that Russia has complete operational control of Crimea, a pro-Russian area of the country, and has more than 6,000 troops in the region.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk insisted that Crimea remains Ukrainian territory despite the presence of Russian military.

As I've noted elsewhere on the web, the West doesn't have the cajones to deal with Putin on a level he will actually understand.

Here's specifically what I said over at GrogHeads
Most Western countries lack the willpower to stand up to a bully like Putin until he's on their border threatening to cross.

The fact is that the Russian leadership - and especailly their public - are willing to accept far more extreme behavior than anyone in the West is. If a bomb goes off-target and hits a civilian neighborhood, western protestors will demand war crimes trials. The Russians would send another 6 for good measure.

We just flat lack the balls to stand up to the Russians and after 13-14 years of non-stop warfare we lack the willpower for another intervention.
We can only hope that their lack of power projection keeps them contained until their economy collapses again, so we're not going through the same shit for the next 40-50 years.

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