Crisis in Ukraine - March 17, 2014
EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine's unfolding crisis, featuring key developments and links to analytical pieces from foreign policy experts around the world.
- Crimean voters overwhelming chose to secede from Ukraine in the March 16 referendum, and the Crimean parliament accordingly has declared independence and formally applied to join the Russian Federation.
- The announced results reported that 97% of voters supported becoming part of Russia. As the poll was boycotted by the Crimean Tatars and many ethnic Ukrainians (roughly 13% and 25% of the Crimean population, respectively), the officially reported turnout of 83% of the population seems incongruous.
- On Saturday, March 15, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have declared the Crimean referendum illegal. Aside from China’s abstention, all the other members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.
- Following Sunday’s referendum, Ukraine has mobilized 40,000 of its reservists and diverted $680 million from its cash-strapped budget to improve military readiness.
- Russia has deployed thousands of soldiers to the Ukrainian border for a series of military exercises to take place over the next two weeks.
- A truce between Ukrainian and Russian troops has been negotiated in the Crimea. The truce, which will last through March 21, permits the Ukrainian military to resupply their surrounded bases and reduces the possibility of an immediate confrontation.
- According to a statement released on Sunday by the Russian Foreign Ministry, over the course of two phone conversations on Saturday and Sunday, Kerry and Lavrov have agreed to seek Ukrainian constitutional reforms to resolve the crisis. The U.S. has not confirmed the statement.
- President Obama spoke with President Putin of Russia on Sunday, reiterating continued American opposition to the referendum as a violation of the Ukrainian constitution and sovereignty. Obama went on to press Putin on the need for the de-escalation and a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
- After condemning the referendum, both the U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions, including travel bans and assets freezes, on Russian and Ukrainian leaders over Crimea’s move to join Russia. Both the U.S. and the EU have warned that further sanctions may be imposed if the crisis remains unresolved.
- President Obama has issued an executive order targeting 11 individuals – seven Russians and four Ukrainians – including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, Putin aides, Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, Valentina Matviyenko, the head of the upper house of the Russian parliament, and Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the Crimean parliament. The executive order goes on to label Aksyonov and Konstantinov as separatists.
- The EU has announced sanctions targeting 21 individuals – thirteen Russians and eight Crimeans. The names of these individuals were not immediately publicized, but do not include senior Russian leaders.
- In the largest demonstrations in nearly two years, as many as 50,000 protesters took part in a rally in Moscow to oppose the government’s intervention in Ukraine.
- Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today), the official Russian government owned news agency, and the host of a popular Russian Sunday television show has stirred Cold War fears by noting on the air that Russia is capable of turning the U.S. into radioactive dust.
- Several public NATO websites have been the targets of cyber-attacks purportedly perpetrated by pro-Russian hackers.
The White House, Fact Sheet: Ukraine-Related Sanctions,” March 17, 2014
The White House, Readout of the President’s Call with President Putin,” March 16, 2014
Jay Carney, “Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine,” The White House, March 16, 2014
Dmitri Trenin, “Crimea’s Choice,” The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Eurasia Outlook, March 17, 2014
Sergei Aleksashenko, “The Day After: Is It Technically Difficult to Annex Crimea?,” The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Eurasia Outlook, March 17, 2014
Mike Callaghan, “Is the IMF a political football in the Ukraine crisis?,” The Interpreter, March 17, 2014
Council on Foreign Relations, Interview of John B. Bellinger III: Why the Crimean Referendum is Illegitimate,” March 16, 2014
Paul Pillar, “Ukraine and the Zero-Sum Impulse,” The National Interest, March 16, 2014
Thomas L. Friedman, “The Three Faces of President Obama,” The New York Times, March 16, 2014
Graham Allison, “A ‘Belgian Solution’ for Ukraine?,” The National Interest, March 15, 2014
Colum Lynch, “Russia Vetoes Last-Ditch U.N. Effort to Prevent Crimea Annexation,” The Cable- Foreign Policy, March 15, 2014
Andrew S. Bowen, “Chicken Kiev: Will Russia risk an all-out invasion of Ukraine?,” Foreign Policy, March 15, 2014
Peter Liberman and Julie A. George, “Will Conquest Pay?: In Crimea, Russia Might Come Out Ahead,” Foreign Affairs, March 14, 2014
John McCain, “Obama Has Made America Look Weak,” The New York Times, March 14, 2014
Taras Kuzio, “Farewell, Crimea: Why Ukrainians Don’t Mind Losing the Territory to Russia,” Foreign Affairs, March 13, 2014
Fareed Zakaria, “Why (this time) Obama Must Lead,” The Washington Post, March 13, 2014