By Tom Winter
(We trust that regular Fort Russ readers already know all this, but it might be useful to have it all in one place)
1. First thing: internal boundaries in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics made no difference whatever. This was, in fact Nikita Krushchev’s argument when he had the Supreme Soviet put Crimea under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This was done in Moscow with zero input from anyone in Crimea.
2. Crimea was the base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Catherine the Great’s time; in our time, Russian force was there under a lease/treaty with Ukraine.
3. Wikileaks US state department documents from 2006 refer twice to Petro Poroshenko as “our Ukraine insider.”
4. Both the President of the United States and the tapped phone call between Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador admit and demonstrate that the regime change in Kiev of February 22 was a US-led putsch. It put “our Ukraine Insider” in charge as president of Ukraine.
5. This, as our US President said, pushed Russia to annex Crimea — or lose its Black Sea Access to the United States. (Who would a pro-US Ukraine lease the Crimea naval base to?)
5a. The International Court of Justice, in the instance of Kosovo, determined that Kosovo’s independence referendum was legal. Implying, and outrightly stating, that a region seceding from its central government does not need that central government’s authorization to be legal.
5b. Crimea’s referendum overwhelmingly favored returning to Russia. This is the only vote that the people of Crimea ever had about their status. Recall from (1) above that the only voter in 1953 was Nikita Krushchev. The Russian parliament agreed to admit Crimea.
5c. Note that Russian force was already there and legally there. There was no “invasion” of Crimea.
6. In May of 2014, the two most-Russian and richest regions of Ukraine held a similar referendum, with similar results. The parliament in Moscow did NOT accept that voice.
7. The putschist government of Ukraine responded to the secession wish of Donetsk and Lugansk with a military assault, starting the civil war that is still going.