Told you this would happen. Meet the new boss, taking orders from the old bosses:
The newly installed, pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea declared on Saturday that he had sole control over the military and the police in the disputed peninsula and he appealed to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for help in safeguarding the region.
In his statement Saturday, the Crimean prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, said, “Understanding my responsibility for the life and safety of citizens, I appeal to the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, for assistance in providing peace and tranquillity on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea.”
The New York Times, in that dry and slightly sarcastic tone of theirs that I hadn’t realized I missed until I actually heard it again, said that any kind of official Russian response would be “little more than a formality.” But as I said yesterday, it’s pretty obvious that the Russians intend to lop off the Crimea and either turn it into a client state, or just annex the whole thing. They appear to being prepping for both scenarios at the same time; no doubt the Russians will pick whichever one looks more likely to succeed, although to be honest I’m not sure what, if anything, the White House is prepared to do about this.
Neither is the New York Times:
“There will be costs,” Mr. Obama said in a hastily arranged statement from the White House.
That ‘hastily’ was a nice touch, and a rare light note in what is becoming a rather dreary replay of Russian imperialism*. And, oh, yeah: separatist movements in eastern Ukraine, too. This entire thing could end with Ukraine split into three parts, each of which would exist on Russian sufferance. And the Russians make for uncomfortable neighbors.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*And may I note in passing that the Russians have a lousy track record when it comes to imperialism? – Particularly in this region. There were reasons that all of the ‘Stans broke away from Moscow’s control when the Soviet’s empire collapsed, and those reasons go back centuries.