In spite of President Obama’s harsh warnings, Russian armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday. In addition, the Russian Parliament granted President Putin the authority to use military force in response to the deepening instability in Ukraine.
This is a real slap in the face to President Obama.
Russia’s parliament will ask President Putin to recall Moscow’s ambassador back from the United States.
Ukraine’s fugitive president surfaced on Thursday in Moscow, where he was photographed with his good friend President Putin.
To further raise tensions with the West over Ukraine, Russia says it is negotiating with eight governments around the world for access to military facilities, to enable it to extend its long-range naval and strategic bomber capabilities. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the military was engaged in talks with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
Access to the new locations would extend Russia’s military’s potential reach well beyond its current extraterritorial bases, at the Syrian port of Tartus and in former Soviet states – Ukraine’s Sevastopol, Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Shoigu said Russia was also beefing up its existing military presence in the post-Soviet region, doubling its troop numbers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and deploying a regiment of troops to Belarus where it already has fighter aircraft stationed.
Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency broadcast, “Now, Moscow needs to place such military assets in strategically important regions of the world to make them work effectively toward the goal of expanding Russia’s global influence.”
Since his return to the presidency in 2012, Putin began exploring options to renew alliances with the communist countries, and Russian Navy chief Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov said that year Cuba and Vietnam were in the frame.
Russia is now helping Vietnam to upgrade facilities at Cam Ranh Bay, including a submarine training center, and Russia is negotiating for preferential access to refueling and repair facilities there for its ships.
As for the Western hemisphere, Russian Navy ships in 2008 made their first visit since the end of the Cold War, holding joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan Navy in the Caribbean, navigating the Panama Canal, and making a port call in Havana.
Just days ago, a Russian intelligence-gathering ship, the Viktor Leonov, docked in Havana harbor with no explanation from the government or state media coverage.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and its other moves, the U.S. has uttered some harsh words – no only from President Obama, but from Secretary of State, John Kerry, and even from Sarah Palin. The dazzling red-head young and glamorous U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, an Irish national, is threatening to bring the matter to the United Nations.
Rahima and George Clooney have yet to weigh in, however Ben Affleck has visited John Kerry in Washington.
If it weren’t so sad, it might be funny.
Kerry called upon Russia to “clarify its intentions.”
Clarify? Russia’s intentions seem obvious, as Putin marches on.
Update 5/20/2014 – Russian Prime Minister agrees – We are approaching a second cold war
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says that “we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war.” He also said that U.S. President Barack Obama could be “more tactful politically” and that he’s disappointed in some of the decisions Obama has made.
“Yes, I believe that President Obama could be more tactful politically when discussing these issues. Some decisions taken by the US Administration are disappointing. We have indeed done a lot for Russian-US relations. I believe doing so was right. The agreements that we reached with America were useful. And I’m very sorry that everything that has been achieved is now being eliminated by these decisions.
Basically, we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war that nobody needs.
Why am I saying this? Because a competent politician knows how to make reserved, careful, subtle, wise and intelligent decisions, which, I believe, Mr Obama succeeded at for a while. But what is being done now, unfortunately, proves that the US Administration has run out of these resources. And the United States is one of the parties to suffer from this,” Medvedev said,