Putin Asks Authority to Use Military Force in Ukraine

Patrick Chappatte, The International New York Times

Patrick Chappatte, The International New York Times

Less than 24 hours after President Obama warned Russia that “there will be costs” for any military intervention in Ukraine — something that most believed was already happening — Russian President Vladimir V. Putin requested authority from the Russian Senate to use just such military force in Ukraine.

The New York Times:

Mr. Putin’s request, largely a formality, signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Even as Mr. Putin submitted his request to the Senate, formally called the Federation Council, it was clear that forces allied with Moscow were largely in control of the disputed peninsula.

Just a few hours earlier on Saturday morning, the newly installed, pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea declared that he had sole control over the military and the police in the disputed peninsula and he appealed to Mr. Putin for help in safeguarding the region.

The prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, also said a public referendum on independence would be held on March 30.

The Times also says that pro-Russian forces are “said to have taken control of a government building in Kharkiv, and a crowd in the center of Donetsk pulled down the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag and raised a Russian one.”

Read more here.

In a more extensive piece the Washington Post reports similar news pointing out that Putin’s “loose” reference to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raises the possibility that “Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev.”

Putin’s request to the Russian Senate is expected to be “rubber-stamped” by that body today, says the Post.

Read more here.

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Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist

    There is a numbing (or perhaps I should say bone chilling) predictability to all of this and anyone with a sense of history — long-term Soviet and recent Russian — could have seen it coming.

    I have a world-class case of Putin Fatigue and the only thing that brings me up short is that our own Iraq War is still very fresh in my mind, so I am in a sense throwing stones from our glass house to Russia’s in being so condemnatory.

    Putin has now called Obama’s bluff. So what’s an American president to do? Nothing, because there is nothing concrete to be done.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    So what’s an American president to do? Nothing, because there is nothing concrete to be done.

    There are several economic/trade, diplomatic, cultural, UN General Assembly,(Russia has veto power in the Sec. Council) etc. actions the U.S. and its “allies” can take short of rattling swords, but whether they will affect Russia’s actions, is questionable.

    What “rattles” me most is the so-called patriotic Right’s shameful sniping at the President of this country at a time when we should be speaking with one voice and supporting him.

    Nothing will weaken him — and the US — more in Putin’s eyes than this cowardly assault by Americans on their own president and commander in chief.

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist

    As well read as I am about Russian/Soviet history, it nevertheless blows my mind that a substantial amount of support for Putin at home is because Russians miss “the good old days” when the state, among other things, subsidized their chronic alcoholism.

  • sheknows

    Thanks Dorian. I made the same complaint in another post here. Actually I think I said it too during the Syrian crisis.

    Our political right is so intent on making President Obama look bad, it actually invites nose-thumbing and taunts.
    The political right does not care about the respect of our president or our nation. It burns me beyond words.