Calling Obama’s bluff and showing how incapable both America and Europe all in one step. The repercussions for this are likely nothing as they will have a limited or no effect. Obama can do nothing but continue to make hollow threats of ‘economic sanctions’. Russia does not care, nor do they think the same, as they are awash in oil and gas export profits.
Put on your seat belts, we’re in uncharted territory with an angry Putin bent on retaking the Ukraine that was destabilized by Berlin and Washington.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, pro-Russian demonstrators raise the Russian flag on government buildings; speaker of Russia’s lower parliament house said that ‘for now, there is no need’ to send armed forces.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 A.M. on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry as saying.
The ultimatum, Interfax said, was issued by Alexander Vitko, the fleet’s commander. The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.
“If they do not surrender before 5 A.M. tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea,” the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.
Meanwhile in Moscow, the speaker of Russia’s lower parliament house said on Monday that “for now, there is no need” to send the Russian armed forces into Ukraine.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, pro-Russian demonstrators occupied the regional government building in the eastern city of Donetsk on Monday, where they presided as besieged lawmakers voted to hold a referendum, without saying what the public would be asked to decide upon.
The chaotic scene in the heart of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east was one of the boldest actions yet by pro-Russian youths after several days of rallies in eastern and southern cities that Kiev says are organized by Moscow as a pretext to invade.
The protesters stormed the building and reached the second floor where the regional council sits, despite efforts to keep them out by switching off lifts and sealing stairwell doors.
A Reuters photographer outside said hundreds of demonstrators, chanting “Putin, come”, managed to enter the building through a side door after clashing with police who guarded the front of the building. Windows were smashed, making it possible for some to reach the second floor.
Talk of Invasion
Russian forces have already taken control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, an isolated Black Sea peninsula, and Moscow has threatened to invade Ukraine to protect Russian speakers from what it says is a nationalist new government in Kiev.
Kiev says pro-Russian demonstrations have been organized by Moscow as a pretext to invade. Donestsk is one of the most industrialized parts of Ukraine, producing coal, steel, chemicals and turbines for nuclear plants.
It is also the home city of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president who was toppled in Kiev 10 days ago. Most people in the region are ethnic Ukrainians who speak Russian as their first language. Few now support Yanukovych, though many still look to Russia as an ally.
Pro-Russian demonstrations have been held in several eastern and southern cities since Saturday, in some cases ending with Russian flags raised at regional government buildings.
Kiev says Moscow has organized the demonstrations and sent hundreds of Russian citizens across the frontier to stage them.
Full article: Russia issues ultimatum to Ukraine: Surrender or face military assault (Haaretz)
See also: Russia gives Ukrainian forces in Crimea ultimatum to surrender – Interfax (Reuters)