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Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (121) – Crimea Occupation Anniversary

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Five years. For five years Russia has been illegally occupying Crimea. 

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The 5th anniversary of the Russian occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea is displacing almost all other media on Ukraine.

The spectrum of commentary presents a good cross section of views and analysis on Crimea. Curiously, Russia’s dependency on China has also emerged as an issue, one of the biggest consequences of the invasion.

Lucy Fisher on Twitter: “Nato Council statement today on the fifth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, demanding Moscow return control of the territory to Ukraine. Nato also condemns Russian military build-up in the Black Sea region & construction of the Kerch Strait bridge.…”

Oana Lungescu on Twitter: “5 years ago #Russia illegally annexed Crimea. #NATO reiterates its call on Russia to return control of Crimea to #Ukraine. We fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity. Read full statement ⤵️…”

NATO urges Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine

In connection with the fifth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, the North Atlantic Council of NATO has issued a statement in which it called on the Russian Federation to return Crimea to Ukraine.

NATO calls on Russia to return control of Crimea to Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has called on the Russian Federation to return control of Crimea to Ukraine. NATO reiterated Crimea is the territory of Ukraine.

Mogherini: Crimea’s illegal annexation remains challenge to international security

18.03.19 14:02 – Mogherini: Crimea’s illegal annexation remains challenge to international security In connection with the fifth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union, made a statement in which… View news.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Crimean Actions All about Being Able to Violate Commitments with Impunity, Skobov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – A state, if it is really a state “must keep its word,” Aleksandr Skobov says; but Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea and his continuing celebration of that act is about showing that he and Russia can violate any commitments they make and do so with impunity – clear evidence that the Russian Federation is “a state of rats.” The Russian commentator reiterates in his latest Grani commentary that “the annexation of Crimea by Russia has set in motion a mechanism which is pushing the world toward a major war.” That is because “the categorical prohibition on annexations” by the unilateral use of force is the keystone of the current international order ( Those who violate this principle without reflecting on its broader consequences are “at a minimum, apes with grenades,” Skobov says. “State borders are not eternal, and all of them are in one degree or another unjust and can be disputed. They can be reviewed. And their legitimacy is defined by international recognition.” But the fundamental meaning of Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea is to show Moscow’s ability to “ignore the rules and opinions of the international community” as well as its own commitments. It was and remains a revolt by “the Kremlin’s empire against the world community, against humanity” and a sign Moscow cannot be counted on to keep its word about anything. After all, it committed itself to Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Kyiv giving up nuclear weapons – and then, having pocketed that, turned on Ukraine with a vengeance. There are, of course, extreme circumstances when a government’s behavior toward its own people justify ignoring international law about the inviolability of borders and national sovereignty. But Kyiv’s behavior in Crimea, Moscow’s claims notwithstanding, never rose to that. Instead Moscow simply acted as it wanted in violation of law and its own promises. The Putin regime and its supporters “simply wanted to show the world” that Moscow can do what it wants and that there won’t be any serious consequences, the actions of gangsters and rats rather than a civilized state, Skobov says; and something that will lead to even worse excesses if it is not challenged and reversed. The infection of “Crimea is Ours” is a serious illness dangerous both for those around and its carriers,” he continues. It helps feed a drive toward empire unconstrained by international law. The West must decide on what therapy it will use to cure this disease in Russia, but cure it, the West must or it will face ever greater disasters. And Russians have an interest in curing it as well. Unless this disease is overcome, Skobov argues, “Russian society is doomed to degradation and wildness.” That is because underlying the “Crimea is ours” psychosis is “a condescending attitude toward lies and shameful behavior” towards others first but also toward oneself. Indeed, that is “one of the main civilizational aspects of the much-ballyhooed ‘Russian world,’ alongside a proclivity toward division, an inability to show solidarity, a bestial egoism, a lack of belief in anything but loot and crude force, and contempt for human dignity and life itself.” “A people that oppresses others cannot be free. A people who permits itself to lie and ignore all the rules cannot be free. And a people which allows itself to behave like rats can’t either,” Skobov concludes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Crimea — Not Sanctions – Real Harbinger of Demise of Russian Federation, Telegram Channel Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – A compelling argument can be made that the Soviet Union died when it did and not much later as its supporters hoped because Stalin violated his own understanding and annexed the Baltic countries, western Ukraine, western Belarus and Bessarabia via his Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Hitler. In his draft theses on the national colonial question for the second congress of the Komintern in 1920, Lenin outlined his view that as the revolution spread, so too should the borders of the Soviet state, an idea that the Red Army’s invasion of Poland may have made appear plausible ( registered his objections to such expansions in two code cables, one of which was published in Soviet times only once and by someone who did not die in his sleep as a result as a footnote in the third edition of Lenin’s collected works and one of which remained unpublished until after the demise of the USSR. In both, Stalin made clear that national identities would remain powerful even after a socialist revolution and that trying to impose Moscow’s control on those who had never experienced Russian rule before would be a mistake. He said that the Poles would never accept Soviet RUSSIAN rule and that the same would be true elsewhere. Had Lenin lived, he might have expanded the borders of the USSR far further than did Stalin and caused that country to collapse even sooner; but even Stalin acted against his own understanding during World War II and brought within the USSR two regions, the Baltic countries and western Ukraine, that became the trigger for the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. And they did so not because of US non-recognition policy, as important and inspiring as it was, but because the peoples of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine eventually were able to behave in exactly the way Stalin had anticipated, challenging the Soviet order and becoming a powerful model for others to do the same. Now the Apache Dances telegram channel has made a similar argument. A century from now, it says, Western sanctions will be viewed as almost a distraction; but Russia’s occupation of Crimea will be recalled as the turning point from when everything seemed possible for Putin’s regime to when everyone sensed it was going to fail ( “The Russian Federation today is surprisingly similar in that regard to the USSR of the 1970s and 1980s,” although much weaker in many ways, the channel writes. Its leaders keep making the same mistakes, and today as then, everyone “intuitively feels” that the entire structure is “doomed” even if most people avoid talking about that in public. There is, however, one significant difference. At the end of Soviet times, officials wanted the regime to be destroyed because they hoped that they and their heirs could acquire property and wealth if it fell apart. Today’s leading cadres in contrast are in a panic about change; but that won’t be enough to prevent it, only to make the coming shift more difficult. These officials may be able to keep things together for a time, the channel argues, but the longer they do so after Crimea, the more complete will be the collapse. Historians of the future will take note of all that, and they will point to the annexation of Crimea as the occasion when all this began. “The USSR fell apart as a result of a whole list of problems. Crimea too can become precisely that point of no return” about which future historians will speak. And they will view the annexation of Crimea not as a victory to be celebrated but as a curse that should have been avoided. Stalin at least understood that at one point, although later he acted against his understanding and his interests. It is far from clear whether Putin understands what he has done and why ultimately it will blow up in his face or those of his successors. It may be that the current Kremlin leader doesn’t even care.

Putin To Visit Crimea To Mark Five Years Since Peninsula ‘Rejoined’ Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to travel to Crimea on March 18 to mark the fifth anniversary of what Moscow considers the day Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula became part of Russia.

Putin to Mark 5 years of Annexation in Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Crimea on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, condemned by the West but celebrated b…

Putin in Crimea as Russia Marks Five Years Since Annexation

Moscow took over Crimea in March 2014 after months of tensions with Kiev following the ouster of a pro-Russian leader

Putin to mark five years of annexation in Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Crimea on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, condemned by the West but celebrated by most Russians. A Kremlin statement on Sunday said Putin would visit the peninsula and its largest

Putin in Crimea as Russia marks five years since annexation

Russia on Monday marked the fifth anniversary of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, a move condemned by Kiev and its Western allies but celebrated by most Russians. President Vladimir Putin was to take part in celebrations in the Black Sea peninsula, launching a power station and meeting members

How Russia’s elite troops were unmasked – BBC News

On the anniversary of Crimea’s annexation, this is how the BBC discovered Russian troops were involved.

Five years after the annexation of Crimea, Russia has been left an international pariah

The referendum confirming the annexation of Crimea by Russia five years ago today marked a significant shift in the geopolitical relationship between Moscow and the West.

Russia Still Paying Price for Crimea Five Years After Annexation – Bloomberg

Half a decade has passed since Vladimir Putin annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. For Russia, the costs continue to mount.

Bloomberg: Russia has lost $150 bln over five years of Crimea occupation

Over five years of the occupation of Crimea, Russia’s economy has shrunk by more than 10 percent, or $150 billion, compared with 2013. — Ukrinform.

Russia’s losses over five years of illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea estimated at over US$150 bln – news politics | UNIAN

Russia’s losses over the five years of the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea were estimated at over US$150 billion. Most of the costs were linked with sanctions introduced by the United States and the European Union against Russia.

UAWire – Russian Foreign Ministry: Western sanctions against Russia are ‘hypocritical’

On Saturday, Moscow condemned the “hypocrisy” of new Western sanctions imposed against a number of Russian officials because of their …

Crimeans Take to the Streets in Celebrations, in Photos

Gallery | Patriotic fervor gripped crowds during celebrations of the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s annexation.

Crimeans Mark Five Years of Russian Rule With Cossacks, Eagles and Bikers

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives on Monday to open two new power stations.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Russian senator dismisses EU’s statement on Crimea as pointless

Crimea’s peaceful and legal reunification with Russia did not pose a threat to international security, while military interference in the affairs of sovereign states did, Konstantin Kosachev added

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Russia may demand Kiev’s compensation for damage to Crimea at highest level – MP

Earlier the speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin proposed to oblige Ukraine to offset to the Crimea economic losses from stay in its structure

Documentary about Kremlin’s political prisoners to be screened in European Parliament on March 19 – news politics | UNIAN

A documentary titled ‘Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian Political Prisoners of the Kremlin’ will be screened in the European Parliament on March 19, 2019. The film was premiered at the PACE session in Strasbourg on January 21, 2019.

Crimea’s de-facto “head” Aksenov: There are more forces in Crimea now than in entire Ukraine – news war | UNIAN

Russian-controlled “head” of Crimea Sergey Aksenov has said Crimea is a fortress in terms of security now, as there are more armed forces in Crimea now than in Ukraine whose Crimean peninsula Russia occupied in March 2014. Aksenov boasts Russia’s strongest military group equipped with advanced weapons has been deployed on the peninsula.

Scanners to be installed near Crimean Bridge to examine freight transported by rail – news ukraine | UNIAN

Local authorities in Russia-occupied Crimea will install scanners near the newly built Crimean Bridge to examine freight transported by rail. The scanners will be able to determine the type of freight and its weight.

Russia hopes for new “referendum” in Crimea to completely “legitimize” annexation – Mejlis member – news politics | UNIAN

Gayana Yuksel, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, has said the Russian authorities may hold another “referendum” in Crimea to completely “legitimize” its annexation, therefore they intensively populate the peninsula with Russians in parallel with the forced departure of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. The Russian leaders have developed a special program to populate the peninsula with people loyal to the Kremlin.

SBU unmasks Crimea native compromised by Russian special forces

Counter-intelligence agents of Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service have identified a native of Crimea who was enlisted by Russian special services to gather information about Ukraine’s Armed Forces in Kherson region.

Austria condemns annexation of Crimea, fully supports EU position – Foreign Ministry

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea, the Foreign Ministry of Austria has stated it condemns this serious violation of international law and reaffirms its full support of the European Union’s position on this issue. — Ukrinform.

Australia imposes financial sanctions, travel bans over Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne has said her country imposed financial sanctions and travel bans in response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine. Australia condemns the aggression and calls on Russia to release the detained Ukrainian sailors and seized vessels without delay.

Financial sanctions and travel bans in response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, Media release, 18 Mar 2019, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Australia stands united with our partners in opposition to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, five years after its illegal annexation of Crimea. Together with the United States, the United Kingdom and other European Union member states, and Canada, we are strong supporters of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Today I announce targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against seven Russian individuals for their role in the interception and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels that were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait. Australia is concerned by this escalation of tensions in the Sea of Azov in November 2018. Australia condemns the aggression and calls on Russia to release the detained Ukrainian sailors and seized vessels without delay. We also call on Russia to allow free and unencumbered passage of Ukrainian and international ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Australia does not recognise any actions seeking to legitimise the annexation of Crimea or the secession of parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. I have therefore also imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against three ‘leaders’ from separatist-controlled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine following so-called elections in November 2018. Details of these 10 individuals are in DFAT’s Consolidated List of individuals and entities subject to targeted sanctions under Australian law. This list is available on DFAT’s website. We call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters.

UAWire – Washington: Russia’s ‘referendum’ in Crimea ‘a farce at the barrel of a gun’

The so-called “’referendum’ at the barrel of a gun”, conducted by Russia in the Crimea five years ago, was a farce, wrote State Department …

Crimea will be returned to Ukraine. We will never resort to any bargaining and behind-the-scenes agreements – President — Official website of the President of Ukraine

In the interview to Ukraine TV channel, President Petro Poroshenko said that there is no more important task for Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities and the President than to ensure the restoration of territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the state. In the interview to Ukraine TV channel, President Petro Poroshenko said that there is no more important task for Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities and the President than to ensure the restoration of territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the state. “First of all, we must understand who opposes us. One of the largest military machines in the world, a totalitarian one, which has set a task to organize the illegal annexation of Crimea. And the first thing we did was to organize the world solidarity with Ukraine, which contributes to the liberation of Crimea,” the Head of State emphasized. “The second position – Ukraine will never resort to any bargaining, or behind-the-scenes agreements. And Crimea will be returned to Ukraine. We will do our best to ensure that this is done as soon as possible, immediately after the presidential elections. Because you heard Putin’s repeated statements that it would not happen before the presidential elections, because he was very hopeful that anyone except for Poroshenko would be elected, so that the new Ukrainian government would kneel down and give up Crimea. Dream on. We will free Crimea,” he added. The President noted that for this purpose, Ukraine was increasing military power, consolidating international solidarity, providing economic growth. “The same will happen with Donbas. I do not rule out the possibility that we will have progress on blue helmets immediately after the elections (the introduction of a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of the United Nations in the occupied part of the territory of Donbas – ed.),” the Head of State noted. “I emphasize that the jurisdiction of the OSCE special monitoring mission is not only Donbas, but also Crimea. And we have a completely clear plan what we should do for this,” Petro Poroshenko said. The President also thanked the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. “I would like to address them separately – believe me, we will fight for the liberation of Crimea. We never forget about you. And we are proud of your struggle. Together we will definitely win,” the Head of State said.

UAWire – President Poroshenko promises to do everything possible to return Crimea to Ukraine after elections

President Petro Poroshenko, in an interview with the TV channel Ukraina, stressed that there is no more important task for the Ukrainian …

Poroshenko promises to return Crimea immediately after presidential elections

18.03.19 11:44 – Poroshenko promises to return Crimea immediately after presidential elections President Petro Poroshenko said that there is no more important task for Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities and the president than to ensure the restoration of territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the state. View news.

Poroshenko: Ukraine’s most important task to ensure restoration of territorial integrity – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said there is no more important task for Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities and the president than to restore the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Poroshenko says Ukraine will never conclude any behind-the-scenes agreements.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Paying Too High a Price for Chinese Money, Polonsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 17 – Russia is paying too high a price for the money that is flowing from China into the pockets of Moscow elites because China is treating the Russian Federation like a raw materials supplier from which it can take as much as it likes without regards to Russian needs or desires, Ilya Polonsky says. That becomes obvious, the Moscow commentator says, when one considers the strategies Beijing is using, strategies that reflect “a tested means of economic expansion” at the expense of the territories into which its firms are moving and then operating ( “The close economic cooperation with the Chinese People’s Republic carries with it inevitable risks and even essential potential problems for our country,” Polonsky says. Chinese firms acquire sufficient shares in Russian companies so that Beijing is in a position to make “strategic decisions” for those companies. Already, “20 percent of the Russian project for producing liquefied natural gas in the Arctic belongs to the Chinese company CNPC;” 12.5 percent of Uralkalia is now in the hands of Beijing. And after a later start, Chinese interests have already acquired two percent of the shares of VTB Bank.” But even this is only a small portion of what China has achieved, Polonsky continues. Beijing now controls “a significant part” of Russia’s forests. “It is interesting that Russia with its colossal forest resources over the last 40 years has not built a single cellulose-paper factory” while China has built many, despite having banned the felling of forests on its territory. One reason for this, the commentator says, is that in addition to legal exports of Russian wood products, China is illegally importing much more. Indeed, no one knows exactly how much of Russia’s patrimony is now going over the border to China, an unacceptable situation no matter how much money some in Russia are receiving. “In addition to cutting down the forests,” Polonsky adds, “the Chinese are actively involved in agricultural projects on the territory of Russia.” They are renting out thousands of hectares of land across the Far East and talking to other regions as well. What China needs from Russia are “resources and land,” he argues. What Russia is interested in is attracting investment. “But the question is at what price will our country receive that money.” If that price is to lose much of the country’s patrimony either by exports, loss of control or pollution, then “one must think about the value of such a partnership.”

Russian military hardware spotted near Ukrainian border (Video) – news war | UNIAN

A convoy of Russian military hardware was spotted near the border with Ukraine on March 16. The convoy was spotted in Russia’s Rostov region.