News / Europe

On the Scene: VOA’s Steve Herman Reports on Ukraine Fears of Russian Invasion

People hold a sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler as they attend a unity rally at Independence Square, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 23, 2014.
People hold a sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler as they attend a unity rally at Independence Square, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 23, 2014.
Ukraine’s interim government, while vowing it will never recognize Russian control over the Crimea, now acknowledges its outmanned and outgunned forces have been ordered to pull back from the peninsula.

This comes as Ukraine expresses alarm that Russia - which annexed Crimea last Friday - is poised to enter the Ukrainian mainland.

While there are hopes that an emergency Group of Seven meeting in The Hague can use diplomacy to defuse the crisis, Ukrainian officials say their country’s northern, southern and eastern borders are increasingly under threat but their military is ready to defend the homeland.  

The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy, told reporters in Kyiv there are about 100,000 members of Russia’s military poised along Ukraine borders equipped and ready to intrude. He said that despite assurances from Russian officials that they are engaged in routine drills, in reality Russian forces are on full alert.

Parubiy also said the interim government has given Russia an ultimatum to free Ukrainian generals and admirals who are being held in Crimea after Russian forces seized nearly 200 Ukrainian bases. No details are being revealed, however, about conditions or deadlines for the ultimatum.
 
  • Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Ukrainian soldiers transport their tanks from their base in Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Russian police cars drive and Ukrainian soldiers walk behind Ukrainian tanks at Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Crimean retirees line up to get their pensions in Russian rubles inside a post office in Simferopol, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Ukrainian marines prepare to leave their base in Feodosia, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Russian sailors stand on board the ship Aleksandrovets at the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Ukrainian sailors leave the Konstantin Olshansky navy ship in the bay of Donuzlav, Crimea, March 24, 2014.
  • People line up to apply for Russian passports in Sevastopol, Crimea, March 24, 2014.
  • A man carries a placard with currency rates at an exchange office in Sevastopol, Crimea, March 24, 2014.

Hour earlier Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, confirmed that all of the country’s military units and their families had been instructed to leave Crimea because they “are under real threat.”

Some people - perhaps the majority of personnel in some key units, according to sources here - are staying behind to join the Russian military.

Most prominent among them is Denis Berezovsky, the former commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Navy who has been named a deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. He now faces treason charges in Ukraine where the military establishment is branding him a traitor.
 
Retired captain Volodmyr Voloshyn, president of the Union of Ukraine Marines and a former Ukrainian naval chief of staff, said he cannot understand what compelled his colleague to make such a decision.

Voloshyn said that after the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lot of Ukrainian officers were accused of betrayal for taking an oath to defend Ukraine.

The loss of Crimea, including the Ukrainian military bases, the navy’s flagship and only submarine are a humiliating loss for Ukraine. Its forces demonstrated little, if any resistance, in the face of overwhelming odds against them.

Former Ukrainian foreign minister Borys Tarasyuk said Washington and London, though, have to take a share of the blame for the loss of Crimea.

“The United States and the United Kingdom, two countries, I dare to mention them by name, they did not implement their commitments according to the Budapest Memorandum on national security guarantees to Ukraine in connection with Ukraine joining the non-proliferation nuclear treaty as a non-nuclear state,” he said.

The 1994 political agreement was signed by the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
March 24, 2014 10:51 PM
I absolutely disagree with the comments made by Mr. Borys Tarasyuk, trying to put the blame on the US or others. The Budapest memo calls for Russia, the US, Britain, later France and China were added in a sparate doc. for them to respect Ukr's sovereignty. The US/Britain are fully respecting their committment "to respect the sovereignt of the Ukraine"; it is Russia that is not respecting the sovereignty. The agreement does not bind any one to use military force to restore Ukraine. Those that signed the piece of paper need to be held responsible and accountable for their lack of foresight and abandoning their integral security assets and secuity forces to a high risk policy, which has made Ukr incapable of defending itself, or deterring agression. History needs to be read and understood, and ignorant people should not be allowed in making such very bad decisions. Ukraine's history is full of foreign invasions, for centuries Ukraine was not a free nor an independent country; it is hard to understand, as to why, in 1994 the Ukrainian leadership took it upon itself to disociate itself of the duty to maintain reasonable, competent, capable, efficient and effective security forces. People have allways paid the price for bad decisions, Ukraine has been a country that should have known far better, than to disarm itself. Do not blame the West, for 20+ years of poor leadership choices made in/by Ukraine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid