Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Monday recognizing Crimea as an independent state, and Crimean officials plan to meet with Russian authorities in coming days to discuss annexation by Russia. But the Ukrainian government won’t withdraw its own military from the Crimean peninsula, and has made plans to mobilize even more troops. In short, just one day after Crimea’s questionable “vote” to join Russia, war appears to be on the horizon.
“Crimea was, is, and will be our territory,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh said Monday. “Ukrainian forces will stay until all their tasks have been completed.”
Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov confirmed that “Ukraine is ready to defend its territory.”
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s parliament voted to mobilize 40,000 Ukrainian troops and allocate $600 million to military defenses over the next three months. Vitali Klitschko, a Ukrainian lawmaker and candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, reiterated that Ukrainian troops have no plans to leave Crimea. He also said that members of parliament will donate 25 percent of their salaries to “support patriots in Crimea.”
Meanwhile, Putin signed an order to “recognize the Republica of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state.” Members of the Crimean parliament, which voted unanimously to accept annexation by Russia, flew to Moscow on Monday to talk about the prospects of annexation.
Is there any encouraging news? Well, Russia and Ukraine did sign a five-day peace treaty, and so far, both sides have respected it. But given that neither Ukraine nor Russia has shown the slightest intention of backing down, there’s little reason to believe that peace treaty will last beyond five days — and even that isn’t a sure thing.