Friday Links: Update on Crimea


Screenshot from Russia Today

Russian President Vladimir Putin states his approval of the draft proposal on Crimea’s secession from Ukraine in a speech.

Crimea, a city in Ukraine, has found itself in the middle of United States and Russian political tension. Crimea joined Ukraine 1954, which was not a problem until 1991 when the Soviet Union split, leaving Crimea in independent Ukraine. The problem is 60% of Crimea’s population of two million identifies themselves as Russian.

This problem has been unresolved for over 20 years until Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was driven from power by violent protests in Kiev. With this succession of power, the idea of an independent Crimea apart from Ukraine flourished.

Flash forward to now, as of Monday, Crimea’s parliament voted to break away from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. As a result, both the United States and the United Nations slapped financial sanctions and travel bans on Russia and certain Ukrainian authorities that support the referendum.

“There are consequences to their actions,” said President Obama concerning the sanctions.

But why is President Obama against Russia’s response to Ukraine? The sanctions placed on Russia were retaliation against Putin’s military seizure of Crimea. Also, President Obama believes that further escalation of the Ukrainian and Russian matter will only result in Russia’s further isolation from the international community. Overall, Obama doesn’t believe that Vladimir Putin, Russian President, is handling the situation professionally or in a way that won’t harm Ukraine or Russia. He defends this opinion based off of historical fact. This is the first time one country seized territory from another since the end of World War II.

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin made a speech declaring that he did not have any intentions of seizing any other regions of Ukraine after Crimea and Sevastopol, and right after, he signed a treaty with Crimea that officially made Crimea part of Russia.

Tensions were high as a Crimean celebration of the treaty became out of hand and ended in a Ukrainian lieutenant being fatally shot. As of now, it is unknown if more chaos is to come of the Russian annexation.