The Independent: What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine
Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics
Vladimir Putin accuses Ukraine of killing Russian servicemen in terrorist attacks in Crimea and warns that the deaths will not be ignored. The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, orders his country’s military to be in a state of combat readiness. Talks over the Minsk agreement, which established a ceasefire of sorts in the vicious conflict, have been put on hold. There are dire predictions that Ukraine is sliding back into war.
The upsurge of this particular episode of violence, and its venue, has come as a surprise. There has been low intensity, but rising, strife in separatist Donetsk and Luhansk in the east over the last few months, but Crimea has not experienced serious military action since it was annexed from Ukraine by the Kremlin in the chaotic aftermath of the Maidan protests.
That is not to say that Crimea has been entirely calm. Tartar and Ukrainian activists had claimed systematic persecution by the Russian dominated government in Simferopol. Some of those we met while reporting from there at the time have fled, some are in prison. On the Ukrainian side of the border pipelines carrying electricity into the peninsula have been blown up, creating severe power shortages: groups of Tartars have blocked roads at the de-facto border, stopping supplies from getting in.
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