The deteriorating situation in Ukraine has finally eclipsed into the military seizure of the Crimean Peninsula by Russian forces. Various reports suggest at least 6,000 Spetsnaz have also been deployed to Crimea in the past few days, in addition to unconfirmed numbers of Russian regulars in support of what the Putin government is alleging is a quasi-peacekeeping/defense-of-citizens role in the Peninsula.
The Russian takeover of the Peninsula highlights a major geopolitical power play for Russia, and also further solidifies Putin’s ability to usurp the combined powers of Ukrainian sovereignty, the European Union, NATO, and even the US.
(Update 2 March: it is reported a Russian convoy carrying several hundred troops is moving on the regional capital of Crimea, and that the Ukrainian military has been fully mobilized. Live updates on the situation can be viewed here.)
According to various reporting, this takeover began when the “Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement alleging that a group of unidentified armed men from Kiev attempted to seize the Interior Ministry building…in response…[forcing] an appeal from the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea to Vladimir Putin for assistance in ‘ensuring peace and tranquility’ in Crimea.” What does this mean? Putin’s role as genial Olympics host is over, and the EU, NATO, US, and people of Ukraine had better take notice.