News / Europe

On The Scene: Elizabeth Arrott in Crimea

A Pro-Russian Calm in Crimeai
X
March 04, 2014 10:12 AM
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, on Monday strongly condemned Russia's military presence in the Crimea region of Ukraine and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in Ukraine Tuesday after sharply criticizing Russia's behavior. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Arrott reports a certain pro-Russia calm in Crimea itself.
Elizabeth Arrott
— Armed men have patrolled the streets of the Crimean capital for days.

They can be seen outside parliament, at the regional airport, and in the center of Simferopol.

As Western nations condemn what they've called Russia's naked aggression, Moscow insists it has not deployed troops beyond the bases it leases from Ukraine.

Neither of the dueling narratives about events in Crimea seem to have much resemblance to what's going on here.
 
At a checkpoint near Crimea's Belbek airport, not far from a stand-off between Ukrainian and Russian forces, the idea of exceedingly professional "self-defense forces" continues.

I asked men who were clearly volunteers on one side about the men on the other -- with their guns, vehicles and uniforms of questionable origin.

Andrei, in calmer times a landscape gardener, preferred not to show his face.

"This vehicle and these people are armed self-defense," he said in Russian.

I asked him if they were Ukrainian.

"They're ours," he said. "Every [nationalities] is here.  Not ours, but every [nationality]:  Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Tatars."

I asked is it an army?

He answered "No, it's a vigilante group."

Moscow said it’s beefed up its presence to protect ethnic Russians under attack by Ukrainian nationalists over language and politics -- persecution it claims is orchestrated by the new pro-Western government in Kyiv.
 
But on the streets of Simferopol, pro-Russia sentiment holds sway. Crimea’s local parliament has clearly aligned itself with Moscow, and the only apparent threat is to some Ukrainian soldiers who’d been surrounded on their military bases.
 
Even the mystery soldiers who put on a show of force for cameras outside parliament and at the regional airport last week have withdrawn.
 
Politicians in Kyiv, however, have warned of imminent conflict between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries – including reported threats of ultimatums that Russia denies.
 
But the will to fight by either party, at least here in Crimea, is questionable. The region, part of Ukraine but with long ties to Moscow, is common to both.
 
And the soldiers themselves, despite the war of words between their leaders, appear to be showing remarkable restraint.

Related report: Who Are Those Armed Men in Crimea?

Who Are Those Armed Men in Crimea?i
X
March 04, 2014 11:03 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow has every right to send forces to Ukraine, but has yet to make that move. His statement has raised eyebrows in Crimea, where soldiers without insignia, widely believed to be Russian, are a common sight. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from the autonomous Ukrainian republic.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alis from: RF
March 04, 2014 6:23 AM
It is surprising why such articles don't place on the Russian wash voices of America?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid