Tag Archives: Crimea

Ukraine And Russia Eye One Another In Black Sea

Over forty years ago during the Khruschev era, the Russian leader made a slight change in how the Soviet Union was organized by transferring the Crimea area to become part of the Ukraine. The Crimea had the Soviet Union’s only seaport in the Black Sea but no one at the time could forsee that decision would create problems in 2008. Today, Russian and Ukrainian ships share the seaport of Sevastopol. During the recent war in Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian navy played an active role in dealing with Georgian ships. Russian Admiral Andrei Baranov, pointed out his ships played an important role during events in Georgia to protect the rights of Russian citizens, an interesting way of describing those living in South Ossetia.

Rumors are circulating in the Crimea that Russia is issuing Russian passports to thousands of Crimeans in order to create the impression Russians dominate the region. Many Russian political leaders want the 1954 decision to be reversed so Russia can once again claim ownership of the Crimea. Pro-Russia leaders in Sevastopol are furious that the Ukraine has invited NATO ships to dock in the harbor.

Now, is the time to deal with this issue rather than wait until some situation erupts that could have deadly consequences for Europe and the world.

Putin Says Differing Things Concerning Ukraine

Prime Minister Putin of Russia has been sending mixed signals to the Ukraine regarding his views about that nation. Several months ago, while in a conversation with President Bush, the Russian leader was overheard saying, “You understand George, Ukraine isn’t even a state! What is Ukraine? One part of its territory is in Eastern europe, and the other party, the significant portion was a gift from us.” On the other hand, he was recently said his nation respects the boundaries of Ukraine, including the disputed area of the Crimea which Khrushchev turned over to the Ukraine in the fifties. “Russia has recognized the present day borders of Ukraine long ago” he said in an interview with a German radio station.

A major issue between Russia and the Ukraine is fear on the part of Russian leaders that a Ukraine which is a member of NATO could pose a military threat to its security. Perhaps, it is time to put aside talk of NATO membership and work toward creating a sense of stability and security for all nations of eastern Europe.

Ukraine In Political Crisis Over Georgia

The Ukraine is a nation caught between pressure from Russia and the United States regarding its future in Europe. America and some European nations want the Ukraine to enter NATO and become an important political and military base for the west. Russia is concerned that the Ukraine could be used by potential aggressors to launch attacks. President Victor Yushchenko has been cautious in his approach to recent events in Georgia which has resulted in a clash with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The president’s own chief of staff, Victor Baloha denounced his boss for failing to take a more aggressive stand in defense of Georgia against Russia. Within days charges and counter charges were expressed by various members of parliament and the ruling coalition.

There never has been a solid majority government in the Ukraine which allows issues of control and power between the president and prime minister to become the center of conflict. A reality is that the Ukraine must walk gently in dealing with the large bear on its border.

Is Ukraine Next Target Of Russia?

Russia’s military response to actions of Georgia have sent a shiver of fear down the backs of most Ukranians. There is confusion and concern as to the extent to which Russia would go in preventing the Ukraine from becoming part of NATO. However, unlike Georgia, the Ukraine is a nation of 46 million people with a well developed industrial base. Analyst Geoffrey Smith at the Renaissance Bank in Kiev, argues “there is no way on earth that these two countries will go to war” since they have mutual economic relationships. Russia transports its oil through the Ukraine and the Ukraine needs that oil for its own economic development. A main issue is the old Soviet Union province of Crimea which contains important sea ports for the Russian navy. During the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev the province was shifted and made part of the Ukraine which resulted in Russia still being able to use the sea ports, but only under permission of the Ukraine.

There is no question Russia has its eyes set on some form of control over the Crimea. Members of the Russian parliament have made threats that if the Ukraine doesn’t watch its step, the Russian government will have to take action in the Crimea.

Russia seeks close relations with China, but if it invaded the Crimea this would frighten the Chinese who oppose armed action to seize former provinces since such behavior sets a poor example to Tibetans or Muslims in western China.