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    Posted March 19, 2014 by
    edwardnelson
    Assignment
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

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    Russia is a Military Aggressor that Invaded Crimea on False Pretense

     
    A few weeks ago, the Russian Federation increased its military presence in Ukrainian Crimea and started blocking Ukrainian military bases as well as sabotaging their daily operations by cutting off electricity, food and water supply, and other essentials. President Putin attempts to justify these actions as Russia’s response to instability and ethnic conflict, to right-wing extremists coming to power, to a threat to the Russian-speaking population and human rights violations, and to Russia’s legitimate historical rights to the Crimea.
    Before Russian troops invaded the Crimea, it was a safe and peaceful region and a tourist destination that hosted about six million vacationers annually. It was not until after the arrival of the Russian military and pro-Russian “volunteers” that the areas near Ukrainian military bases became engulfed in acts of violence, attacks on journalists, threats to Crimean Tatars, and blocking of the roads. The Russian occupation of the Crimea has already wreaked havoc and brought instability and the very real possibility of widespread ethnic conflict in the region.
    To justify the invasion President Putin claims that the “right-wing extremists” came to power in Kyiv and yet there is no such member of the current Ukrainian government. The most radical wing – the Right Sector – is not represented in Ukraine’s parliament. Moreover, since being formed in November 2013, neither the Right Sector nor its initiating organizations have ever been implicated in crimes related to ethnic, religious, or racial discrimination. Numerous international watchdog organizations suggest that despite the growing popularity of the right-wing parties in Ukraine, the country is not under threat of racial or ethnic intolerance. In fact, even in the interim government at the national and local levels there are representatives of various ethnicities: Ukraine’s acting president is an ethnic Russian and evangelical Christian; the acting minister of defense is part-Roma; the acting interior minister is an ethnic Armenian who grew up in the East. The new governor of Dnipropetrovsk, in Ukraine’s East, is Jewish. In Russia, on the other hand, has been known for beatings and killing of people from Asia and Africa and for setting hostels on fire.
    Lastly, Russia has been speculating about having legitimate rights to Ukrainian territory omitting the fact that Crimea became associated with Russia 62 years later than Estonia and Latvia, where about half of the inhabitants are Russian-speaking or Russian by nationality. The current ethnic composition of the Crimean population, in contrast to the situation in Kosovo, is not the result of natural demographic processes, but rather the result of the deportation of Crimea’s local inhabitants – Crimean Tatars, Greeks and Armenians – by Joseph Stalin in 1944, and of the forceful relocation of people from inland areas of Russia to replace them.
    Up until now, the situation remains tense, as Russian armed forces siege Ukraine’s military bases and headquarters calling for Ukrainian military officers and soldiers to surrender and flee. Reportedly, soldiers at military headquarters in Sevastopol were left starving as Russian troops blocked the base and cut off the food supply.
    According to the international law, Members of the Parliament of the Crimea are separatists and Russia as a military aggressor. At the same time, the international community did not recognize the pseudo-referendum, and relevant resolutions had been adopted to that effect by the Venice Commission and the European Court of Human Rights.
    Ukraine, as a country that gave up its nuclear weapons, exemplifies the efficiency – or inefficiency – of the global collective security. And their have to exist some leverage to influence the aggressor, in order to show that the diplomatic language and actions are efficient and that the Russian counterpart comes to its senses and stops isolating itself and creating threats to the global security.

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