vladimir putin

Turkey will do everything possible for the Crimea to remain part of Ukraine, according to the Head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Ahmet Davutoglu. "Turkey will make every effort to secure Crimea’s future within Ukraine’s territorial integrity," he wrote on Twitter.

A little more than a week after the Ukrainian Parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and Putin's Winter Olympics in Sochi came to an end, Russian troops are now in control over Crimea, a chunk of Ukraine a bit larger than Vermont. Russian troops are consolidating their hold on the region, and Ukraine's still-shaky interim government is trying to organize a coherent response.

President Obama's diplomatic effort to head off a violent breakup of Ukraine ran aground Saturday as a top U.N. envoy was blocked from a peace mission to the disputed region of Crimea and Russia's parliament, or Duma, approved a request by Russian President Vladimir Putin to send military forces to Ukraine in support of pro-Russian Ukrainians.

My previous article on what Russia was likely to do in Ukraine described the costs of a Russian attempt at territorial aggrandizement. The title and subtitle were picked by the editors; my read on the situation did not give me certainty that Russia wouldn’t invade Crimea, and indeed I argued that an invasion was likely if there was violence against ethnic Russians there (which is why I urged the Ukrainian government not to rise to the bait by permitting or encouraging anti-Russian violence in Crimea).

Stunned by Russia's swift move into the autonomous province of Crimea and the Russian parliament's endorsement of that brazen action, the United States called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the region and "refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine." Speaking by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since this crisis escalated, President Obama expressed concern over "Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to a White House statement.

Late last month, as thousands of international journalists prepared to descend on Sochi to cover the Winter Olympics, the Kremlin resorted to using a controversy to silence a critical television station. A direct move to shut down the station would have been too blunt--particularly at a time when all eyes were on Russia--so authorities resorted to exploiting a producer's blunder, blowing it out of proportion, and pushing a third party to do their bidding.

Canada’s rush to support democracy in Ukraine has echoes of an earlier time. In 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, Canada was the first country to recognize Ukraine, following a national referendum in which more than 90 per cent of the country voted for independence. 

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, ended just as they began: with an ostentatious, exhaustive, and carefully scripted celebration of Russian heritage and culture. The 17 days of athletic competition featured all the riveting performances, unexpected disappointments, and weather-related updates that one would expect.

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