News / Europe

Kyiv Somber, Angry Over Crimea Result

Members of a military special unit stand guard in front of a Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv, March 17, 2014.
Members of a military special unit stand guard in front of a Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv, March 17, 2014.
With local officials in Crimea saying that 97 percent of voters in the Black Sea Peninsula backed breaking with Ukraine in Sunday's referendum, the reaction in Kyiv is a mixture of anger and resignation.

The super-majority secured in Sunday's referendum in Crimea has left many Ukrainians agreeing with U.S. Senator John McCain, who while visiting Kyiv over the weekend questioned the vote's validity, saying it was "just like the old days in the Soviet Union."

The vote to separate from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation two weeks after Russian forces seized Crimea has left Ukrainian politicians divided over the next steps. Should they accept the break as completed and move on, focusing their strengths on rebuilding Ukraine, or should they continue to resist, and if so how?

Lawmaker Lesya Orobets, one of the leaders of the Maidan revolution that toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych that triggered the Russian seizing of the peninsula, said Crimea must not  be traded for peace but that resistance can't be tackled militarily. "There is no government in the world ready for the war with Russia. We can't win this war in military terms. It is not possible. What we can win is the war in diplomatic and informational sense. So we put all efforts into that," Orobets stated.
 
With challenges mounting, from staving off economic collapse to preventing other ethnic Russian regions from breaking with Ukraine, longtime Ukraine resident Michael Willard, who owns a leading public relations agency in Kyiv, said Ukrainians have no alternative but to accept what has happened.
 
"Ukraine doesn't have a military like Russia does. It would be suicidal for them to go up against Russia," Willard explained. "It would be even shorter probably than the Georgian war and that would be tragic. So given the odds, no other options, I think they would probably have to."

But there are still plenty of possible sources of friction and conflict to come over what happens to Ukrainian state property in the peninsula, including the country's 19 warships currently blockaded in their Black Sea port by the Russian navy.
 
Yuriy Meshkov, who was President of Crimea between 1994 and 1995 and has been a longtime advocate of reunion with Russia, said the warships and all Ukraine's state property now belongs to Russia and no compensation should be forthcoming.  

While the Ukrainians absorb the loss of Crimea, worries are mounting here that other majority ethnic Russian regions in eastern and southern Ukraine will consider joining Russia.

Over the weekend about 5,000 pro-Russian protesters roamed central Donetsk in eastern Ukraine smashing doors and windows and forcing entry to government buildings. And in the Black Sea port of Odessa thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators also took to the streets.

Ukraine's new leaders claim Moscow has sent Russian provocateurs who are stirring much of the trouble. The Kremlin denies this and has warned it is ready to send forces massed on the border to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, the initial reason given for seizing Crimea.

Brian Bonner, editor of the English-language newspaper the Kyiv Post said that what strikes him is how restrained Ukrainian soldiers are. "They have been remarkably so far not giving in to provocations by shooting," he noted. "Nobody wants to fire the first shot here and let's hope there is no shot fired."

But with tensions high, some fear the war of words could escalate into shooting.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lana from: Canada
March 17, 2014 10:49 PM
I am Ukrainian and I have one wish that Russiaphobia has stop! there was no invasion of Crimea. People of Crimea asked for help from Russia in respond to self-imposed government of Ukraine to outlaw Russian language. As you may know that the language, mother tong, is essential for one self-determination and self-worth. Also, I glad to see that the article recognizes south-eastern parts of Ukraine as Russian ethnic regions, as such they have right to preserve their language and culture. Also, the illegal interim government of Ukraine, is represented by ultra right sector, mainly party of Svoboda (Freedom). Its slogan is "Ukraine for Ukrainian." This is pretty similar to Nazi slogan "Germany for Germans," which was a pre-cursor for ethnic cleansing, and so many people died. In general, before making any comments, please read information from different sources, as well as history of the country and its culture.


by: Mark from: Virginia
March 17, 2014 11:46 AM
This is how the Nazis did it, this is how the Soviets did it, and now it is happening again, with the Russians, sans Socialism. Divide and conquer. Show a little legality in occupying part of a region, and force a plebiscite to swallow the whole of the region. The Ukrainians have a right to be worried, and it is very unfortunate for them, as they cannot stand on their own against Russia militarily, it would be suicide. They will lose the Crimean peninsula, and thus weakened, may lose other parts of their country in the same fashion.

No foreign nation can, or should, intervene militarily as it would engulf everyone in another disastrous and destructive war. Sanctions will not restore what was lost, it will only hurt the entire area, multiple countries will be affected. Russia will take the Crimea, relatively unopposed, but it will be a costly seizure for them, now and for many years to come. There is no satisfactory outcome for anyone now, that time is long past.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid