Liveblogging Ukraine — Russia Conflict (March 10th, 2014)

brian-fellowThis is my attempt to do a liveblog datadump of what I know about events in Ukraine as I know them. I draw from other sources a great deal and try to give them credit as best I can. The three big places I get info from are Reddit’s liveblog, The Interpreter’s site and Twitter.

I am looking for someone to help me  (preferably someone who lives on the other side of the world and / or can read the languages involved.) To the left is our mascot, SNL’s Brian Fellow, who means well but really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, much like me.

Please understand the context in which I am doing this — just for fun and to see if I can pull it off without making a fool out of myself. If you have any links or tips you’d like to share, please send them to migukin (at) gmail.com. — Shelton Bumgarner.

Be sure to go to the new liveblog for March 11th.

10:15 p.m.
Reddit’s liveblog has a link to USAToday’s report that Ukrainian government officials are now saying they may have to “go nuclear” if the US and others don’t uphold their treaty agreements to defend Ukraine’s borders.

9:41 p.m.
The Atlantic has a nice piece defending the “selfies” being taken by regular folks in Crimea.

9:10 p.m.

Here is a tweet about interesting military hardware floating around Crimea.akit
@cjchivers: Russian Tigr-M mobile electronic warfare vehicle in western #Crimea today. (They brought some A-kit.)

8:45 p.m.
Here is a post by someone who claims they predicted the invasion of Crimea by Russia two years. ago.

The Russian military intervention caught many foreign policy analysts by surprise. Articles explaining why Russia wouldn’t intervene ran in Foreign Affairs, Time, and the New York Times; and even the intelligence community was caught off guard according to the Daily Beast (hat tip to Ben Domenech for his post on this in The Federalist). Events have proven them wrong.

Not everyone got it wrong. Two years ago I argued that, despite the end of the Cold War, the United States should still see Russia as a hostile great power. I cited the 2008 invasion of Georgia, said that we should “look for the sequel in Ukraine,” and argued that Putin would be happy to let a foreign crisis spiral dangerously to win nationalist plaudits at home. For a similar argument, I was criticized in the pages of Foreign Affairs for my “alarmist, worst-case scenarios.”

7:55 p.m.
I continue to wonder about the fate of the Tatars in Crimea. They are the key to this crisis. If they radicalize or there are attempts at ethnic cleansing then all bets are off. Things could go downhill pretty quick. I have to give the Ukrainians credit for not shooting yet. But I just can’t see this lasting  for too much longer. Something’s gotta give as the old saying goes. Eventually, shots will be fired and we’ll have a shooting war on our hands. But maybe not. Maybe peace will breakout and we won’t have to worry about the Tatars.

7:52 p.m.
TIME Magazine has a good article on the man at the center of the Crimea crisis. Got the link through Reddit’s liveblog.

7:01 p.m.

According to this report, two journalists have gone missing in the Crimea area. I don’t know if they’re connected to the two car loads of reporters who got in trouble earlier today, or not.

(Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen have seized two Ukrainian journalists in Crimea, Reporters Without Borders said on Monday, warning that those behind attacks on the media were trying to turn the region into a “black hole for news”.

6:55 p.m

The Heritage Foundations’ site has a piece on what I’ve been worried about for some time — that the otherwise peaceful Tatars will radicalize should Russia attempt to annex Crimea. Add to this that Islamic extremists from all over the world might be drawn to the area and you have a nasty situation brewing in general.

4:48 p.m.
Here is video — in French — from AFP that shows the swearing in of the new Republic of Crimea’s army.

4:44 p.m.

Here is a tweet that’s interesting. Don’t know what it means yet.
Euromaidan PR ‏@EuromaidanPR 5m
BREAKING Control tower in #Simferopol International Airport(SIP) have been seized mined by “unknown” armed forces around 9pm -news.i.ua |PR

4:21 p.m.

Other big news in the liveblog-o-sphere is the announcement that the former  governor of Kharkiv Oblast has been arrested. He is charged with challenging Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Go to The Interpreter’s liveblog for a full account.

At least one person on Twitter thinks the move is a bad one on the part of the Ukrainian central government.

Thomas Heine ‏@ThomasHeine1
@MillerMENA Not sure it’s a wise Kyiv move. Dobkin running for president, ie accepted new power. Made him unpopular among pro-Rus in Kharkiv

4:12 p.m.

EuroMaidan PR, which I have found occasionally tweets out wild things sometimes, tweeted this out recently.

Euromaidan PR ‏@EuromaidanPR
#Russia is preparing to a high intensity war. Miles of military convoys are arriving 24/7 in #Crimea |PR News #Ukraine #CrimeaInvasion

I don’t know how true this is, but if it is true, then the Ukrainian government has its work cut out for it.

2:15 p.m.
I have stuff I have to do, so there will be a little bit of a break now. Please, if you have any links you think I might be interested in, send them my way.

2:09 p.m.
Here is a Tweet I got through Reddit’s liveblog that shows that either war is about to start or it may be moot.

C.J. Chivers @cjchivers
Russian soldiers raided Ukr naval base/Chornomorskoye early Mon. Climbed fence, swept thru, evicted sailors. No shots fired. #Crimea

2:04 p.m.

Here is a nice little quip about the “swearing in” of the new “defense forces” in Crimea.

John Schindler ‏@20committee
Bad sign when you wear masks for the oath, IMO / MT @lindseyhilsum Recruits swear allegiance to new #Crimean “army”

forces

1:53 p.m.
According to The New Republic, the Russians want more the just Crimea.

1:45 p.m.

Here is an interesting tweet about the continuing military takeover of Ukrainian bases by the Russians and their supporters.

Lyalya Horsky ‏@lyalyaHorsky
Russian soldiers capture command post at airport #Novofedorovka #Crimea

She gave a link as well, but I took it out because it looked bad. :-)

1:22 p.m.
Well, that nap turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. My stomach hurts, what can I say. Anyway, things continue to move apace. The big news that I can find today that took place during my absence is this the swearing in of the new local defense forces in Crimea. That’s the big news in the liveblog world, with The Interpreter, as always doing a great job. Here is a picture that was tweeted of the swearing in.

swearing

 

9:10 a.m.
I am feeling a bit sleepy. I am going to take a brief nap and come back pretty soon. Here is a link from Politico that touches on a question some people have stated: Is Crimea even worth it?

9:06 a.m.
According to the Al Jazeera liveblog through Reddit’s liveblog Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is set to address the UN Security Council on Thursday.

8:51 a.m

Former US Sec. of State talked to Charlie Rose on Face The Nation over the weekend about the situation in Ukraine.

8:42 a.m.
The Telegraph has an interesting piece featuring Poland’s FM.

8:34 a.m. EuroMaidan PR Tweeted out this picture of Russian flags after the Crimea pro-Russian protests.

russia

 

8:27 a.m.
According to Bloomberg news, about 20,000 Russian troops are now in Crimea. (Gotten through Reddit’s liveblog.)

8:23 a.m.

According to a tweet from freelance journalist Maxim Eristavi through Reddit’s liveblog, former Ukrainian president Yanukovych will make a statement tomorrow at Rostov-on-Don in Russia.

8:14 a.m.

And we’re back. It seems as though we continue to be in a stalemate. Nothing much has gone on since I went to sleep. Reddit’s liveblog has this interesting picture that was tweeted of fresh military fortifications at the border between Crimea and mainland Ukraine. This comes from Susan Ormiston.

fresh

3:47 a.m.

Again time to go to sleep. I didn’t expect the time change to make it so difficult to sleep. But anyway. When I wake up, I will start to blog again. It could be later than usual since I’m so late going to sleep. And, as I have said before, I do have other things I should be doing, so I can’t promise you I’ll absolutely be able to update this as well as I’d like. But it’s fun seeing how close I can cover events in Ukraine. It will be really sad if war does break out. I lived in South Korea for a few years, and I understand that this is not a video game and that people’s lives are at stake. I just want peace. Boring peace.

3:38 a.m.

Things may be coming to a head sooner than we expected, according to this tweet:

Ryskeldi Satke ‏@RyskeldiSatke
Ultimatums flying all over Crimea,UKR base A4519 in Evpatoriya got one yesterday from Crimea”s new govt. to lay down arms till tonight.

If this means that something is really about to happen or not, don’t know. But we’ll see, I guess. We could be ripe for some dramatic footage from Crimea.

3:18  a.m

The Interpreter has more information about the two car loads of journalists who were detained by the “little green men” who have descended upon Crimea.

In one car, there were two women from AutoMaidan, the protest organized by drivers on the model of EuroMaidan. Aleksei said the women had been delivering letters for Ukrainian soldiers along with food and Ukrainian flags, and these items were thrown out of the car. He said that it appeared that the women had been beaten, that their hands were tied, and they were crying. They were driven away to an unknown destination, and contact with them was lost at 16:00.

H/T to Reddit’s liveblog for giving me a headsup on this. I’m a journalist, so anything to do with their welfare is serious business to me. Please be sure to read The Interpreter’s liveblog on a regular basis.

2:46 a.m.
Apparently the livestream feed outside the Ukrainian naval HQ is back up, for what it’s worth. I haven’t seen the stream with my own eyes, but anyway.

2:34 a.m.
The Belbek stuff was just morning mess at the base, apparently. Nothing much is going on there right now. It’s about as dry as dirt watching the base. But everything could change in a heartbeat if the Russians showed up, so it is oddly interesting watching people just go about their business unaware that you’re looking at them from across the world.

2:12 a.m.
If you’re extremely bored, you can look at this livestream of the Belbek base in Crimea. Something is going on, I just can’t figure out what.

1:12 a.m.
Ok, here is another link. It’s from the conservative Heritage Foundation. It’s worth a read for those interested in what’s going on in Ukraine.

1:06 a.m.

Well, I am going to pack it in for the night. Nothing much is going on, which is a good thing, I guess. I usually wake up early so I will start up again pretty soon. Tomorrow I am going to try — try — to get some other work done that I have not been doing, so I can’t promise you I will be able to update as much as I’d like. But I will probably use most of my morning to process what has happened while I was asleep.

12:45 a.m.
Via Reddit’s liveblog, here is a piece about the take over of yet another airport in Crimea. I don’t think this is new news, but it is something to mull over during this quiet period.

12:40 a.m.

This piece by David Remnick of The New Yorker is great and since nothing is going on, it will tide you over until something happens.

12:30 a.m.

Here is a Washington Post opinion piece that says, in essence, Russia is simply doing to Ukraine what America has done in its own back yard for decades.

12:14 a.m.

Radio Free Europe has a piece on the “dark humor” that has come out of the war of words between Ukraine and Russia.

12:05 a.m.

Not much is going on right now. The forces of Ukraine and Russia are moving around the Risk board, waiting for their turn to roll the dice. I still believe that it is unlikely that events on the ground will allow the referendum on March 16th to go forward. But who knows. Maybe I’m overestimating things. It could be we’ll just have an uneasy peace for the rest of the week and Russia won’t strike until it has the fig leaf of the referendum allows them to strike.