Ukraine crisis: Moscow catches the world off guard
With no appetite for a show of force and little leverage over Russia, the West is left with a choice of uncertain sanctions. Oliver Poole reports
Sunday 02 March 2014
After the shock, the response. For two days Western governments clung to the illusion that Vladimir Putin would not ignore their concerns, despite the hour-by-hour escalation of events in Crimea. The Russian parliament’s vote to send in the tanks snapped them out of that illusion.
The European Union, which at lunchtime yesterday was vaguely saying that foreign ministers would meet “early next week”, announced this would now happen tomorrow. The UN Security Council went into emergency session last night.
“We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,” President Obama said. John McCain, the former presidential candidate who in recent days has insisted threat be met by threat, went further. He wrote on Twitter: “Russian Senate backs Putin request to send troops to #Ukraine – straight out of Soviet playbook. Don’t want Cold War back, but Putin seems to.”