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mystery soldiers who put on a show of force for cameras outside parliament and at the regional airport last week have withdrawn.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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid