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.