Ukraine Prepares for War After Crimea Vote
40,000 Ukrainian troops mobilized, reservists called up
March 17, 2014
Coup leaders in Kyiv have rejected the Crimea referendum, refuse to pull troops off the peninsula following a March 17 vote to secede, and are preparing for war.
“Crimea was, is, and will be our territory,” Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh declared in a statement delivered at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. “Ukrainian forces will stay [in Crimea] until all their tasks have been completed.”
U.S. State Department favorite Vitali Klitschko, who was passed over for central banker Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the coup government, said Ukrainian troops will stay in Crimea.
Klitscho cited a March 16 peace treaty agreement allowing Ukrainian soldiers to move freely in Crimea. According to Tenyukh, the Russians thus far have respected the agreement. Ukraine has used it to resupply troops on the peninsula.
The Russians, however, expect Ukraine to honor the deadline of the treaty, set for March 21, and leave Crimea.