Top 5 Myths About Russiaĺs Invasion of Crimea
Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1801)
Although it is well known that theáfirst victim ofánearly every military intervention is theátruth, Russia seems toáhave broken all records ináthis category. Here are theátop five Kremlin myths about Russiaĺs invasion ofáCrimea:
1. There was no invasion.
Media fromáall over theáworld have reported testimony fromásoldiers ináCrimean cities who are dressed andáarmed exactly like those ináthe Russian armyáŚ minus theáinsignia. They have seized airports, border crossings andáadministrative buildings, andáare pressuring Ukrainian soldiers stationed ináCrimea toásurrender. Nonetheless, President Vladimir Putin insists that theáestimated 15,000 soldiers who have seized Crimea are local Crimean ôself-defense forces.ö
Putin has also said that theáFederation Councilĺs authorization onáMarch 1 ofámilitary intervention ináCrimea has not been executed yet. Whatĺs more, Putin said last week during aámeeting with journalists that theásimilarity between theáuniforms ofáthe Crimean ôself-defense forcesö andáthe Russian army can be explained byáthe fact that is easy toábuy those uniforms ináany clothing store. Putin didnĺt clarify, however, if these self-defense forces also bought theáarmored personnel carriers fitted with Russian military license plates, which were spotted ináseveral Crimean cities, atáthese clothing stores as well.
Putinĺs explanations have theásame credibility ofáa 5-year-old boy who left theátop toáthe cookie jar open andáhas crumbs all over his faceáŚ andáthen tells his mother, ôI didnĺt eat any cookies!ö
2. Russians are inádanger ináCrimea.
There is no evidence that Ukrainians ináCrimea Ś andácertainly not Crimean TatarsáŚ support Right Sector, Svoboda or other far-right groups whose base ofásupport is limited largely toáthe Western regions ofáUkraine. Nor is there any evidence, despite Russiaĺs claims, ofáôUkrainian fascistsö coming toáCrimea toácarry out attacks against Russians there. Even aágroup ofáUkrainian Jewish leaders wrote anáopen letterátoáPutin onáThursday, admonishing theáKremlin not toáexaggerate theáfascist threat ináUkraine.
This is aárepeat ofáRussiaĺs provocation ináSouth Ossetia andáAbkhazia weeks before theá2008 Russia-Georgia war broke out. Then, Russiaĺs provocation Ś also centered onáthe false pretext ofáôprotecting Russian citizens inádangerö Ś worked: Georgia fired theáfirst shots ináthe war. Although Ukrainians have not yet reacted toáRussiaĺs provocation ináCrimea, it is inevitable that atásome point Ukrainians will be forced toáreact toáRussiaĺs aggression, particularly if Russia decides toáuse its weapons onáUkrainian troops ináthe peninsula. Once theáfirst shots are fired, it is aáslippery slope toáa protracted andábloody military conflict between Russia andáUkraine that would likely drag ináoutside powers.
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