Russian Troops Move In to Crimea after Parliament Approves Putin's Request
The situation in Ukraine has continued to escalate at an alarming rate, and now, it looks like Russia might indeed invade Ukraine — in spite of President Obama's clear warnings against the move. On Saturday, Russia's parliament approved President Vladimir Putin's request to send in military troops into Crimea: in short, war may be on the horizon.
Sergei Aksyonov, who took on the position of Crimean Prime Minister only earlier this week, declared himself in "direct control" of the region's security forces on Saturday, and then publicly called for Moscow's intervention. The move is a big deal — the Crimean peninsula, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, is made up in large part by Russians, and is strategically important. There's also a big chance that whatever happens in Crimea will spread to the rest of Ukraine.
“I make the decision to temporarily put the armed units and groups of the Interior Ministry, the Security Service, the armed forces, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the fleet, the Tax Service, and the border guards under my direct control. All commanders shall follow only my orders and instructions," Aksyonov said Saturday, adding: “I ask anyone who disagrees to leave the service.”
“I appeal to the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, for assistance in providing peace and tranquillity on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea,” he said.
And it looks like that request has been readily heeded. "I'm submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country," Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin Saturday. Only hours later, the houses of parliament unanimously passed the resolution.
The interim Ukrainian government, for their part, have accused Russia of refusing to negotiate, calling on the Kremlin to remove the security forces from its sovereign territory. "We demand that the Russian government and authorities recall their troops and return them to their bases ... This is nothing but a violation of the basic provisions of the agreement on the Russian Black Sea Fleet's temporary presence on the Ukrainian territory," said the Ukrainian interim Prime minister.
The rapidly-moving situation will make very real the possibility of a violent civil war. Pro-Russian demonstrations have erupted in several cities — one protest in Odessa saw 5,000 to 20,000 people congregated to pledge their support for Russia. Only yesterday, Russian armed forces were accused of invading the region, even as President Obama made it very clear that any Russian military intervention would not go down well with the international community.
Still, one person at least is gleefully rubbing their hands together at the recent turn of events. It turns out Sarah Palin may have predicted this whole thing, and she's really happy to say "Told-ya-so" (because when it comes down to it, that's what's important, right?). Seriously. See for yourself:
So, in addition to now making a full-blown armed conflict in Crimea a legitimate possibility, Putin's move might also mean that Sarah Palin could just be...a political genius?
Image: Sarah Palin/Facebook