Friday, February 28, 2014
Visitors to the Borderlands Lounge know that I have been linking to news events in the Crimea all week. And now, things seem to be getting much, much worse.
I woke up this morning to read that Russian troops had reportedly taken over two airports in the Crimea, a peninsula belonging to Ukraine on the northern Black Sea littoral.
According to the Washington Post:
Since the late 1990s, two main political blocs have emerged in Ukraine. One, seen mainly in the west of the country, has supported politicians like Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko, while voters in the east and in the Crimea have generally supported Viktor Yanukovych, who supports closer ties with Moscow.
I think a lot of people have been predicting a crisis in the Crimea for quite some time. It seemed to me back in 2008 that the Georgia-Russia war could become a 'dress-rehearsal for the Crimea.' One of the main reasons for this is that Sevastopol, in southwestern Crimea, is the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet. After the breakup of the USSR, Moscow and Kiev negotiated a Russian lease of the base until 2017.