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article imageRussian forces in Crimea brings Europe to the brink of war

By Abdul Kuddus     Mar 2, 2014 in World
Kiev - Following Russian deployment of troops in Crimea, Ukraine has ordered a full military mobilization of its reserves — the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
The fast escalating crisis has raised the specter of another war in Europe.
Ukraine took the steps despite the reality that its forces stands no chance against Russian troops. Ukraine reportedly does not have the military strength and weaponry to face the Russian forces.
Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin received unanimous approval from the Russian Parliament to send military forces into Crimea, citing a perceived threat to the lives of Russian citizens and military personnel based in southern Crimea.
The bloodless seize of Crimea—an isolated Black sea peninsula which houses a Russian naval base— took place when Russian forces surrounded several Ukrainian military post Sunday, and demanded them to disarm.
The Ukrainian forces made no attempts to oppose the Russian aggression. Reportedly the Russian forces in Crimea seized government buildings, airports and other locations in the past three days.
According to CNN, Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk considered Russian forces in Crimea a “declaration of war” and called on Putin to “pull back the forces and stick to international obligations.”
Reportedly, Ukraine sought the help of NATO, Britain and the United States as co-signatories with Moscow to a 1994 agreement guaranteeing Ukraine's security after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
In Kiev, thousands of people gathered at the central Independence Square in a show of support for Crimea and calling Putin to take his hands off Ukraine.
Ukraine plunged into chaos in the tug-of-war over the option to join the European Union or remain under Russia’s control. Last week, the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych preceded bloody street protests that left hundreds dead and wounded.
The presence of Russian troops in Crimea has invited international criticism including a statement from the United Nations and the US.
In a telephone call, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told Putin that it was crucial to "restore calm and proceed to an immediate de-escalation of the situation.”
“The crisis raised alarm bells with the worlds diplomats, with Ukrainian ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev calling on member nations of the UN Security Council to take a stand against what he called Russia's "clear act of aggression,” CNN reported.
According to Reuters, apart from Crimea, Russia is also fuelling protests in the eastern parts of Ukraine which saw pro-Russian demonstrations Sunday—protesters with Russian flags called upon Moscow to defend them.
Kiev officials suspect Moscow’s hand behind a wave of violent protests in other eastern cities as a pretext to launch a wider invasion.
US President Barack Obama told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he has flouted international law by sending troops to Ukraine. Reportedly, Obama warned that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would affect Russia’s credibility in the international community.
Amid a fast-escalating crisis so far, the Western response has been largely symbolic. Reportedly Obama and other Western leaders suspended plans to attend the G8 Summit in Sochi set for June this year.
The reckless decision by Russia to militarily occupy Crimea marks a significant escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.
The fast-moving aggressive developments reflect Putin’s panic on what he sees a loss of influence in Ukraine over the recent protests and the ouster of Yanukovich.
Russia is undoubtedly alarmed at the unprecedented surge of Western influence in Ukraine and feels the dire need to prevent the consolidation of the revolution.
Considering Russian fears of losing its hold over Ukraine, the risk of flouting Ukraine’s sovereignty has sown the seeds of a wider conflict and a serious breakdown of relations with the West.
Meanwhile the fear of the unfortunate death of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians hovers over Europe if the conflict escalates to the point of no return.
More about crimea, Ukraine Protests, Russia
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