Crisis in Ukraine - March 18, 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.
- President Vladimir Putin has signed a draft treaty that would incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation. Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov and Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov of the Crimean Parliament were both present for the signing at the Kremlin.
- Putin declared that “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people.” Putin goes on to state that Russia does not want to partition Ukraine: “We are one people. We simply cannot exist without one another.”
- In a conciliatory speech delivered in Russian, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk sought to reassure his country’s ethnic Russian population and Russia by pledging that Ukraine would not join NATO.
- A Twitter statement released by the Ukrainian government stated that Ukraine would never recognize Crimea’s new status.
- Legislation has been formally submitted to the Russian parliament to begin the process of annexation of Crimea and officially reverse a 60-year old decision made by the Soviet Union that transferred Crimea to Ukraine.
- In a press conference yesterday, President Obama expressed support for Ukraine and declared that the U.S. “stands with the people of Ukraine and their right to determine their own destiny.”
- William Hague, the British foreign secretary has condemned Russia’s actions as a “flagrant disregard of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
- A statement released yesterday by the Foreign Ministers of the EU condemned the Crimean referendum and its outcome as illegal under the Ukrainian constitution and warned of further economic consequences if there are “any further steps by the Russian Federation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.”
- Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Warsaw for two days of meetings with the leaders of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Biden’s trip is meant to reassure these eastern European countries of America’s continued support and commitment to NATO.
- Speaking together with Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, Vice President Biden characterized Russia’s moves as “nothing more than a land grab.”
- Prime Minister Tusk declared that continued NATO solidarity enable “sufficient and strong reactions to Russia’s aggression.”
- Targets of EU sanctions include the prime minister of Crimea, the chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States, three Russian military commanders and senior officials in the Russian legislature.
- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has warned Russia that France could cancel the Russian purchase of French-built amphibious assault warships as part of the next round of European sanctions against Russia.
- In response to U.S. sanctions against him, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin of Russia has posted a message on Twitter: “Comrade Barack Obama, what should do those who [sic] have neither accounts nor property abroad?”
- President Obama has spoken with Chancellor Merkel to continue coordinating the response to the Ukrainian situation.
- Concerned with increasing tensions, Swedish leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Jan Björklund, are considering joining the NATO alliance and boosting military spending.
- The leader of the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria has urged Russia to annex the region. Responding to this appeal, President Nicolae Timofti of Moldova has warned Russia against any move to annex Transnistria. Transnistria seceded from Moldova in 1990 on fears that Moldova would merge with Romania. A brief war was fought in 1992, after which Transnistria declared itself an independent state, but remains unrecognized in the international community. Russia maintains a force of “peacekeepers” in the region. In a 2006 referendum, 97.2% of vote was in favor of joining Russia.
- With the crisis ongoing, Crimea is feeling the financial costs of instability, as tourism from Ukraine and the West has largely dried up.
Barack Obama, “Statement by the President on Ukraine,” The White House, March 17, 2014
William Hague, “Foreign secretary condemns Russia’s recognition of Crimea as a ‘sovereign state’,” March 17, 2014
The White House, “Background Press Briefing by a Senior Administration Official on the Vice President’s Trip to Poland and Lithuania,” March 17, 2014
Council of the European Union, “Council conclusions on Ukraine,” March 17, 2014
Daniel Woker, “Russia-Ukraine: Who can mediate?,” The Interpreter, March 18, 2014
Jan Techau, “Ukraine, the Birthplace of Strategic Europe?,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Strategic Europe, March 18, 2014
Gordon Adams, “Don’t Poke the Russian Bear,” Foreign Policy, March 17, 2014
Steven Pifer, “Helping Ukraine is Punishing Russia,” Reuters, March 17, 2014
Michael Hirsh, “A New ‘Cool War’ With Russia Is About To Begin,” National Journal, March 17, 2014
Stewart M. Patrick, “Crimea: Stop Citing International Law and Start Condemning Russian Expansionism,” Council on Foreign Relations – The Internationalist, March 17, 2014
Jochen Bittner, “Is Crimea the Next Yugoslavia?,” The New York Times, March 17, 2014
Charlemagne, “Putin untouched,” The Economist, March 17, 2014
Dimiter Kenarov, “Watching Gogol in Simferopol,” Foreign Policy, March 17, 2014
Dan Lamothe, “Bad Romance: France’s $1.7 Billion Warship Deal with Russia Gets New Scrutiny,” Foreign Policy, March 17, 2014
Loren Thompson, “Ukraine Crisis: Poland’s Air Defense Become A Pressing Concern for Washington,” Forbes, March 17, 2014
Yong Kwon, “The IMF, Ukraine, and the Asian Financial Crisis Hangover,” The Diplomat, March 17, 2014
Pankaj Mishra, “Putin’s Eurasian Fantasy,” Bloomberg View, March 17, 2014
Peter Beinart, “America is Too Broke to Rescue Ukraine,” The Atlantic, March 17, 2014
“Putin Announces Crimea Annexation,” The New York Times, March 18, 2014