The Russian Drumbeat to War in Ukraine
The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, has approved the use of force in Ukraine:
Russia’s upper house of Parliament voted unanimously Saturday to approve sending Russian military forces into Ukraine, amid mounting tensions in the country’s Crimea region.
The vote followed a request from Russian President Vladimir Putin for approval to send Russian troops into Crimea to normalize the political situation there.
Due to the “extraordinary situation in Ukraine,” Putin said, there are threats to the lives of Russian citizens and Russian military personnel based in the southern Crimean region.
Obviously, this is no surprise but it does represent a ratcheting up of tensions over the crisis. The English language daily The Moscow Times remarks:
The Federation Council voted unanimously in support of military action.
The move comes after reports of large Russian troop movements in the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, and a week after the opposition swept to power in Kiev when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych suddenly left the city.
Russian troops will remain deployed until the “political-social situation in the country is normalized,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Senators in the Federation Council, which is Russia’s upper house of parliament, lined up during an extraordinary session Saturday afternoon to express their support for armed intervention.
Lawmakers accused the United States and European countries of open support for violent protesters in Ukraine.
The decision follows a wave of pro-Russian protests in southern and eastern Ukraine, and calls from the newly elected prime minister of Crimea for Putin to intervene.
This is big news in Russia. Gazeta.ru is doing real-time online reporting of the situation.