Ukraine accuses Russia of inciting new 'Crimean war'

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.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices