Ukraine accuses Russia of inciting new 'Crimean war'
Tuesday 06 June 2006
Ukraine has accused Russia of stirring up anti-US and anti-Nato protests on the Crimean peninsula where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based.
The allegation - made by the Our Ukraine party of President Viktor Yushchenko - follows a week of anti-Nato protests in Crimea that appear to have caught the government unawares.
Emotions are running high ahead of a multinational military exercise on the peninsula, called Sea Breeze, due to begin in July.
Coaches carrying US Marine reservists have been stoned, the Ukrainian Socialists have demanded the resignation of the Defence Minister, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, and Russian MPs have called for Crimea to be taken away from Ukraine and incorporated into Russia.
The dispute comes as Ukrainian politicians are struggling to form a coalition government more than two months after the election that confirmed the country's apparently irreparable split into pro-Russian and pro-Western camps.
The issue of Nato is divisive; President Yushchenko, the leader of the 2004 "orange revolution", wants his country to move closer towards the EU and Nato with a view to joining both organisations. But while many Ukrainians would be happy to become part of the EU, two-thirds of the 47 million population is strongly opposed to joining Nato.
Pro-Russian forces believe it would be "high treason" to join Nato and feelings run particularly high in Russian-speaking Crimea where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based as a hangover from the Soviet-era.
Many locals feel closer to Moscow than Kiev and want the Russian base at Sevastopol to remain. The pro-Western "orange" politicians running the country have told Moscow they will not renew its lease on the base when it expires in 2017. Anti-Nato and anti-US feelings came to a head at the end of May, when a ship carrying US Marine reservists docked in the Crimean port of Feodosia ahead of Operation Sea Breeze.
The Marines were supposed to help refurbish a Ukrainian naval base for the exercise but their arrival has instead triggered a firestorm of protest that shows no sign of abating. The Marines have been stoned, subject to bomb hoaxes, been trapped in their accommodation, ridiculed in the Russian press, and construction supplies have been blocked at the port. Opposition has been led by die-hard Communists, Russian nationalists and by the neo-Communists, headed by the MP Natalya Vitrenko.
Russian MPs have flown in to offer their support, a development that has prompted Mr Yushchenko to rush through legislation allowing him to deport foreigners taking part in the protests. Pro-Russian forces accused Mr Yushchenko and Nato of planning to build a Nato base in Crimea and of shipping in toxic waste. Both allegations have been denied and the government has suggested Russian special forces have had a hand in whipping up the protests.
The Our Ukraine party went even further yesterday, accusing Moscow of directly fomenting the crisis. "The deliberate incitement of Crimean residents over the multinational military exercises by certain political forces directly supported by Moscow endangers not only the international image of this country, but also the national security and interests of Ukraine," it said in a statement.
It argued that military exercises of the same kind have been held regularly since 1997 and that Russia holds similar exercises too.
Locals have also been outraged by the scenario for this year's exercise; it involves Nato forces restoring order in a breakaway peninsula caught between the clutches of a totalitarian government and a democratic one.
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leak: More celebrities allegedly targeted as third wave of hacked images released
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...