Vice President Biden is in the Ukraine today and his first order of business might be to keep the power on. Since Russia controls the spigot, the EU and US must find some workarounds. Bear in mind that the Ukraine has been as source of food supply for Russians. How about shutting that spigot off and diverting the crop elsewhere?
What excuses has Vladimir Putin used to invade the Ukraine? Here is a list that is also annotated.
- The Ukraine government fell and the elected president fled to Russia.
- The Ukraine owes Russia much debt.
- The Ukraine was once in the same club with Russia, and has been leaning more to the EU.
- There are many pockets of Russians living in the Ukraine and those communities could belong to Russia.
- The Ukraine has strategic locations that are beneficial when under Russian control.
- The Ukraine government is unviable and unrecognizable presenting a security problem for ethnic Russians living there.
On and on it goes. The trouble is that Russia has no legitimate right to invade the Ukraine and international law is the means to address its concerns. Since Russia has chosen the aggressive invasion path that began with illegal occupation of the Crimean Region, the nation must be punished for its actions. A commentator on CNN speculated today that punishment for Putin’s actions to date could last decades. It will be felt by Russian citizens as the ruble is crashing.
1. The Ukraine government fell and the elected president fled to Russia.
“Throughout its 72-year history, the republic's borders changed many times, with a significant portion of what is now Western Ukrainebeing annexed by Soviet forces in 1939 and the addition of formerly Russian Crimea in 1954. From the start, the eastern city of Kharkivserved as the republic's capital. However, in 1934, the seat of government was subsequently moved to the city of Kiev, which remained the capital of newly independent Ukraine.”
2. The Ukraine owes Russia much debt.
“Adding up: A look at how much Russia claims it is owed for gas and Ukraine's options
Published April 11, 2014
MOSCOW – The amount Russia says it is owed by Ukraine's cash-strapped government for natural gas has ballooned as if by magic — from $1.7 billion at the beginning of April to a staggering $35.4 billion, according to a letter sent by President Vladimir Putin this week to 18 European leaders.”
3. The Ukraine was once in the same club with Russia, and has been leaning more to the EU.
“Why Ukraine leans toward Russia for natural gas instead of Europe
By Xun Yao Chen December 19, 2013 12:00 PM
Why could Ukraine's natural gas tension drive urea prices down? (Part 6 of 9)
Russia’s potential offer
Russia may offer discounted natural gas prices if Ukraine grants better terms for the Russian naval fleet in Ukraine’s Crimea, according to a senior Russian official quoted by Reuters on December 11. Loans would also be provided if they were secured by manufacturing facilities important to Russia’s defense.”
4. There are many pockets of Russians living in the Ukraine and those communities could belong to Russia.
“Russians in Ukraine form the largest ethnic minority in the country, and the community forms the largest single Russian diaspora in the world. In the 2001 Ukrainian census, 8,334,100 identified as ethnic Russians (17.3% of the population of Ukraine), this is the combined figure for persons originating from outside of Ukraine and the autochthonous population declaring Russian ethnicity.”
5. The Ukraine has strategic locations that are beneficial when under Russian control.
“Why is Crimea so important to Russia?
Crimea is strategically important as a base for the Russian navy. The Black Sea Fleet has been based on the peninsula since it was founded by Prince Potemkin in 1783. The fleet’s strategic position helped Russia defeat Georgia in the South Ossetia war in 2008, and remains crucial to Russian security interests in the region.”
6. The Ukraine government is unviable and unrecognizable presenting a security problem for ethnic Russians living there.
“Would a federal Ukraine be viable?
The ruling Party of Regions has mooted a federation as a possible way out of crisis for Ukraine. But far from defusing tensions, the opposition believes giving more power to the regions would cause the state to collapse.”
Article 2 of the Ukrainian Constitution defines Ukraine as a unitary state. Its capital and center of power is Kyiv. The country, which regained its independence following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, is divided into 24 districts (oblasts) and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
So far, the president, the government and parliament have always had authority over nearly everything, from taxes to language policy. But now it seems that the continuing political upheaval in Ukraine is threatening to rip the country apart."