Depending upon who you ask, the Crimea is either still a part of the Ukraine or a part of Russia. Fortunately the events which brought about this situation all happened in the past 6 months meaning they should all be fresh in everyone’s mind. It started with the Ukrainian people toppling their pro-Russian President and replacing him with a popular official. This unrest within the Ukraine gave President Putin all the ammunition he needed to stir up a little trouble in Crimea, and that he did. And just to put a sharp point on his intensions, he sent thousands of Russian troops to the area. He was obviously provoking the government of the Ukraine into doing something aggressive. But he was also offering solace to the large population of Russians who live in Crimea. The message being, “Feel safe. We are here for you.” It did not matter to him that any incursi0n on the sovereign soil of the Ukraine was an act of war, regardless of the vote the Crimean parliament took. Crimea was, and is, the lawful territory of the Ukrainian people. Putin has snubbed his nose at a country’s right to sovereignty by placing his troops on the Ukrainian military compounds while running out the Ukrainian troops. He is daring the Ukrainian government, and anyone else, to do something about it.
The U.S. response to all this was to first put sanctions of many Russian businessmen who do business in the U.S. Then they made a number of Russian diplomats persona non grata who were ordered to leave the U.S. And finally, we are sending troops to Lithuania and the Ukraine. It would not surprise me that troops will be placed in Poland as well. The Ukraine is not a part of NATO however it borders countries which are to include Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Turkey, all of whom have a vested interest in maintaining peace in their sphere of influence. And all, except Turkey, have no desire to once again fall under the rule of Moscow after they worked so hard to escape it.
One fear I have heard is that this could be the beginning of a whole new “cold war.” I hope not but having armed camps along the Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean borders certainly makes things look that way. Is this Russia testing the waters to possibly re-occupying a country like Belarus? Estonia? Latvia? Putin has absolutely no good excuse for sending his troops into a foreign country regardless of what the residents of that area voted. No only is it an act of aggression, but an unmistakable act of war.
But we in the U.S. have declared ourselves to be the ally of the Ukrainian people. And to that end we must give them all the support, within reason, that they need. This is a case, however, where war materials, along with adequate training are about as far as we should go. This is not our war but the Ukrainians are our friends, and we must respect all their requests.
The only acceptable result is a total Russian withdrawal from Crimea.