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mystery soldiers who put on a show of force for cameras outside parliament and at the regional airport last week have withdrawn.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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid