In another sign that Russia is thumbing its nose at President Obama’s ‘blunt’ warning against a Ukraine intervention, Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine. Haaretz reports Putin said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in the Crimean region.
Russia’s RIA news agency said pro-Russian authorities in the region, which has an ethnic Russian majority, and the Russian Black Sea fleet based there had agreed to guard important buildings. Regional premier Sergei Aksyonov said that that Fleet personnel had already been deployed.
The peninsula’s main civil airport at the fleet town of Simferopol announced it had closed its airspace. Russia accused Kiev-backed gunmen of attacking the Interior Ministry building and wounding personnel in “treacherous provocation.”
As armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports and a communications center in Crimea on Friday, Kiev accused Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” — a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis, and raised fears that Moscow is moving to annex a strategic peninsula where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.
Conservative pundits are wasting no time in slamming President Obama as leading from behind on the Ukrainian crisis. The right wing drum beats are getting louder and louder. Charles Krauthammer blasted the president on Special Report saying, “The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.” He also said Obama is telling the world that we aren’t going to do anything about the invasion of the Ukraine.
This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.