Ukraine crisis: How do you solve a problem like Crimea?
With shots fired by Russian troops, Putin condemning a ‘coup d’état’ and senior diplomats scurrying to ease tensions, there seems no end in sight to the grave crisis engulfing Europe’s eastern edge
Wednesday 05 March 2014
Vladimir Putin has given a confident performance in front of the media, insisting that the events of the last 10 days in Ukraine amounted to nothing less than a coup d’état. At almost the same time, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrived in Kiev to shore up the new, pro-Western, yet unelected government.
In Crimea, where Russian troops have taken control and faced an ugly stand-off with Ukrainian forces at the Belbek military airbase, the situation is a long way from being under control. The Russians have effectively annexed the region, despite Mr Putin’s protestations to the contrary.
Ukraine’s finances have flirted with the precipice for a month and Washington announced a $1bn aid package; but beyond that, there seems to be little of substance from the West that will ultimately bring a swift end to the stand-off.
In truth the West has very few sticks with which to beat Moscow: the UK Government’s position – seen through a photographed briefing paper on Monday – makes clear that Mr Cameron is hoping others pick up the mantle. But allies in the EU are just as concerned about the supply of cheap energy from Russian gas fields as they are with the future of Crimea, and the US administration under Barack Obama has proven itself over six years to be doveish to the point of being seen as weak in the face of aggression.
Despite the tensions, the Russian military went ahead with the test-firing of a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile hit a range in Kazakhstan. The US said it had been notified of the test before the crisis began.
Vladimir Putin said Russia saw no need to use military force in the Crimea region of Ukraine for now (Reuters)
Moscow has no interest in armed conflict – a point underscored by Mr Putin – and its financiers will take as real the threat posed to the Russian economy by investors being spooked. But nor does it want to lose face by appearing to cave in to Western demands. All of which means the crisis in Crimea – in which nobody appears to have the upper hand – is far from being resolved.
Read more: Diplomacy: US threatens Russia with political, diplomatic and economic isolation
On the ground: Gunfire, paranoia and football on the base that plays host to two armies
Senior Tories linked to energy magnate with ties to Yanukovych
Russia: Putin won’t rule out force, but will not annex Crimea
Comment: Russia needs the West’s expertise as much as we need its oil
Sketch: Opposition could well get a little more robust on crisis
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...