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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Ukraine will never recognize the results of the weekend referendum that favored Crimea’s secession and it will never accept the annexation of the peninsula by Russia, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said Tuesday.

“Our land will never be torn away,” Turchynov said Tuesday, according to the UNIAN news agency. “The Ukrainian people and the entire civilized world will never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian land.”

Turchynov’s comments came as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties with Crimea’s Moscow-backed leaders appropriating the region and its vital naval port of Sevastopol less than two days after its voters backed secession in the widely criticized referendum. Though Putin’s move requires ratification by the Russian parliament and the Constitutional Court, those steps are seen as formalities.

Also Tuesday, a Ukrainian military spokesman said Russian snipers had opened fire in the center of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, killing one Ukrainian army serviceman and injuring at least two others. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry later ordered its servicemen to fire back if attacked, UNIAN reported.

Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that one member of the local self-defense forces was killed and two wounded by gunshots in Simferopol.

Many who oppose Russia’s incursion into the region, including the United States and others in the West, criticized the developments as more evidence of a dangerous Russian power move and questioned the results of the overwhelmingly pro-Russia referendum.

“The fact remains that Crimea is not part of Russia, but it is part of Ukraine occupied by Russia the way the Baltics, part of Poland and western Ukraine were occupied by the Soviet Union back in the 1940s,” political scientist Vadim Karasyov said in an interview.

Karasyov said the jubilation in the Kremlin after the referendum may be the celebration of a Pyrrhic victory for Moscow. Russia may face tougher challenges than the sanctions imposed thus far on some Russian and Ukrainian officials by the United States and European Union and the threat of more penalties if Moscow does not back down in Crimea.

“I am sure the United States and Western Europe will consolidate their efforts and find a way to make a speedy transition from the meaningless sanctions to a number of more effective measures to engage Russia in an economic Cold War which will be a test of whether Putin is bluffing or whether Russia is really reasserting itself as an arrogant Soviet-style superpower,” said Karasyov, director of the Institute of Global Strategies, a Kiev-based think tank.

Russia controlled the peninsula until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred authority to Ukraine in 1954 in what was then a shift between two republics of the Soviet Union. Ukraine gained its independence in 1991.

Some analysts said referendum results indicating 80 percent voter turnout and 90 percent in favor of Crimea’s secession from Ukraine appeared bogus.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Started with the “breakaway” regions in Georgia. Now we have the same actions in Ukraine. Vladimir Vladimirovich is slowly recovering the Soviet Empire built by his personal hero – Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin!

  • howa4x

    Ukraine is now seeing how the superpower game is played, and has become another pawn in it. We are not going to war over Putin’s aggression to the chagrin of the neo-cons, so Ukrainians should not get their hopes up. Republicans wouldn’t do it either even though they posture differently. It is all part of the American Kabuki theatre. Crimea will be annexed and the best we can hope for is a collapse of the ruble due to sanctions.
    It will be interesting to see how American corporations behave once sanctions get worse. They have invested in Russia and don’t want to see economic chaos there. Soon the 1% will be chewing on the ears of their republican employees in the congress. They do not want to loose money in Russia no matter what Fox says.
    This game has many levels and we are only at the 1st one. More to come!

    • FT66

      Agreed. Economic sanctions are the modern way to fight anyone. Don’t send people to war to fight, that is an old fashion way. Just extend an arm into the pockets of those who think they now have grabbed power like Putin. They will really feel the heat. Not only him alone but also his people who support him.

  • Allan Richardson

    Soon, I fear, the Ukraine itself will be a ghost country like Tibet, which the civilized world will spend many decades trying to “free” while having no choice but to deal with the reality of its foreign control, until a more civilized Russia/China “regrets” its domination of Ukraine/Tibet and liberates it — AFTER almost totally destroying its cultural identity.

    That is basically a replay of how the northern two thirds of Mexico was lost to the United States, starting with the breakaway state of Tejas, followed by Alta California, then the rest of Mexico above the Rio Grande. It would almost have been more humane to take over ALL of Mexico while we were at it; at least the inhabitants would have the benefits of being U.S. citizens today, and live in a more prosperous economy than they do now.

    • Mikey7a

      Well yes Allan, but our U.S. Govt. didn’t want all of Mexico, only the part that had a lot of natural resources! How the U.S. can say anything about a “land grab”, is totally beyond me.

      Mine may be a very selfish point of view, but I vote we stay out of this one. Putin is smart, he knows that we, the US citizens, are very war weary. You can fault the man for many things, but his timing is impeccable. We can ill afford another war/conflict/police action, clear across the other side of the world. Economic sanctions, are little more than Sabre rattling, and Russia’s Govt. knows it!

  • lowCal90

    Primitive, foreign, communist groyds like Hussein Obama have absolutely nothing to offer an advanced European civilization.

    • CrankyToo

      I thought I might make it all the way to the bottom of this comment section without encountering one single post from a dumbass, racist, wingnut POS. No such luck…