The Western Press and political leaders in the West are finding it hard to accept the (possible?) Russian military steps in Crimea. The press is making endless provocative statements about it. Mr Obama, the US President, has made open threats to Russia about it.
Specifically; small (50-200 men) groups of armed men have been in evidence at two air-ports and in the regional parliament. In the parliament they allowed a sitting of the regional assembly to go ahead after an attempt by regional Tartars (aligned with Kiev and wanting to be part of Ukraine) tried to prevent it meeting. One of the Tartar leaders made it clear that this was their express purpose. They knew that a meeting of the regional government would lead to a referendum or vote on more independence for Crimea. As indeed it has.
There is no direct evidence that these armed men are Russian military forces. But let’s allow that either they are or that they are organised by Russia.
Why might Russia be doing this? (If they are). The answer is pretty obvious. There have been threats from opposition activists in the centre of Ukraine about travelling to the East and Crimea. A small armed presence at the air-ports should be sufficient to discourage agitators from fulfilling this threat. The action at the regional assembly allowed a session of that body to go ahead. The action protected democracy. (At least representative democracy).
In short, the Russian action, assuming it is that, seems to be a small, wise step, aiming to attempt to stabilise the situation before it gets out of hand. In doing that the Russians are doing everyone a favour. If they didn’t do that. If agitators from the West arrived to cause trouble and if the regional parliament ceased to function and people no longer felt that there was a democratic process, Crimea could explode. If that happens and if, as a result, the lives of ethnic Russians who live in the Crimea are threatened Russia would have no choice but to intervene militarily. (As Britain say had no choice but to protect the Falkland Islanders when Argentina invaded). The same applies if