CRISIS IN UKRAINE. The Bottom Line…. Ukraine is the rope in an international game of tug-of-war between Russia and the West
CRISIS IN UKRAINE
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Ukraine is the rope in an international game of tug-of-war between Russia and the West
Russia, under President Putin, wants to bring back Ukraine into its post-Soviet fold, making the country a part of its slowly expanding Eurasian Union (joined by former-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan).
However, a majority of the Ukrainian people want a government that will align itself with the European Union and other western countries.
The United States supports Ukraine’s effort to form a new government that will carry this out
Timeline of Events
Nov. 21: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's government announces it is abandoning an agreement that would strengthen ties with the European Union. It seeks closer cooperation with Moscow. Protesters take to the streets.
Dec. 1: A protest attracts about 300,000 people at Kiev's Independence Square. Activists seize Kiev City Hall.
Dec. 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces Moscow will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and all for a cut in the price Ukrainians pay for Russian natural gas.
Jan. 22: The first protest deaths. Two die after being hit with live ammunition and the third after a fall during a confrontation between police and demonstrators manning barricades.
Jan. 28: The prime minister resigns and the parliament repeals harsh anti-protest laws.
Feb. 16: Opposition activists end their occupation of Kiev City Hall in exchange for release of all jailed protesters.
Feb. 18: Street clashes erupt, leaving at least 26 dead and hundreds injured.
Feb. 22: Yanukovych flees the country after a political coup. Opposition leader YuliaTymoshenko is released from prison.
Feb. 23: The last day of the Sochi Olympics.
Feb. 24: Ukraine's interim government and president, OleksandrTurchinov, issues a warrant for the arrest of Yanukovych.
Feb. 25: Pro-Russian protesters take a stand in Crimea. Yanukovych's former chief of staff is wounded by gunfire and hospitalized.
Feb. 26: Amid clashing protesters in Crimea, Putin orders military exercises in western Russia. Secretary of State John Kerry vows $1 billion in loan aid to Ukraine.
Feb. 27: Yanukovych surfaces in Russia, appearing for the first time since fleeing Ukraine. Russian jets are on standby in case of combat.
Timeline of Events
Feb. 28: Armed men in Russian military uniforms take control of key airports in Crimea. Russian marines surround a Ukraine coast guard base in Sevastopol. Obama warns "there will be costs" for Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
March 1: Ukraine's parliament asks for an emergency meeting with the U.N. Security Council. The Ukraine government calls on Russia to put a stop to the "provocations" in Crimea.
March 2: Armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surround a Ukrainian military base in Crimea. Putin tells President Obama that use of force on Russia's part would be a response to provocations from Ukraine.
March 3: Kerry travels to Ukraine.
March 4: In Kiev, Kerry offers the $1 billion loan guarantee and technical experts to help recover assets, referring to the billions reported to have been funneled out of the country by Yanukovych. Putin says he has no intention to "fight the Ukrainian people.“
March 5: A special U.N. envoy cuts short its mission in Crimea after a group of armed men order them to leave the region, according to U.N. officials.
March 6: Obama seeks visa restrictions and economic sanctions on Russians who have been involved in military action in Ukraine. The House Foreign Relations Committee calls on Obama to enact financial and trade sanctions against Russia.
Why Does Russia Want Ukraine?
“Buffer state” between it and the EU
Gas Pipe Lines
Part of its expanding empire
Soviet Union Lite
¼ of its naval fleet is stationed in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula…allows it access to the Mediterranean
What Can the US do?
We do NOT want to solve this militarily…clash of the nuclear superpowers
Economic sanctions (penalties)
Encourage international community to condemn action and impose sanctions
Freeze the overseas assets of Russian individuals and companies
Impose travel bans on some Russian officials
Phone conversation between Putin and Obama did not go well
Putin denies that the gov’t installed in Ukraine is official
Insists that the President ousted in a Coup was illegal
Obama insists that Russia’s invasion of Crimea is against international law
Putin says he is protecting Russian speaking population there