World News – Are we getting ready to head into a 3rd World War? It seems that Russia and Putin and going to possibly call Obama’s bluff and head into the Ukraine. How soon will this drag the rest of the world into arms?
Saturday’s takeover involving armoured personnel carriers and stun grenades provided the most spectacular show of force since the Kremlin sent troops into the heavily Russified peninsula three weeks ago before sealing its annexation on Friday.
Alarm about a push outside Crimea by Moscow’s overwhelming forces – now conducting drills at Ukraine’s eastern gate – were fanned further on Sunday by a call by its self-declared premier for Russians across the ex-Soviet country to rise up against Kiev’s rule.
The interim leaders in Kiev fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin – flushed with expansionist fervour – is developing a sense of impunity after being hit by only limited EU and US sanctions for taking the Black Sea cape.
“The aim of Putin is not Crimea but all of Ukraine … His troops massed at the border are ready to attack at any moment,” Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council chief Andriy Parubiy told a mass unity rally in Kiev.
Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya reaffirmed that message in an interview broadcast on Sunday on a top US political talk show.
“We do not know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision. That’s why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago,” Mr Deshchytsya told ABC’s This Week.
Three Ukrainian military officers on the Crimean peninsula were also believed to be held by Russian forces, a Ukrainian official said.
Europe’s most explosive crisis in decades will dominate a nuclear security summit opening in The Hague on Monday that will include what may prove to be the most difficult meeting to date between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The encounter comes with Russia facing the loss of its coveted seat among the G8 group of leading nations and US financial restrictions imposed on the most powerful members of Putin’s inner circle for their decision to resort to force in response to last month’s fall of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin regime.
At least two Ukraine army units and three naval vessels also were still resisting the Russian troops, said Dmitry Tymchuk, a Ukrainian defence expert.
“The situation is very volatile and Russian pressure is growing by the minute,” Mr Tymchuk, head of Kiev-based Centre for Military and Political Research, said in a phone interview. “The way the Russians move they can capture these units and vessels within the next few hours.”
By Dmitry Zaks, www.smh.com.au First paragraph added by Dan Stevens