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New head of Ukraine's navy defects in Crimea

The newly appointed head of Ukraine's navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.

Rear Admiral Denys Berezovsky was only made head of the navy on Saturday, as the government in Kiev reacted to the threat of Russian invasion.

Admiral Berezovsky appeared in Sevastopol before cameras alongside Sergiy Aksyonov, the pro-Russian politician elected by Crimea's regional parliament as local prime minister.

Mr Aksyonov announced he had given orders to Ukrainian naval forces on the peninsula to disregard any orders from the "self-proclaimed" authorities in Kiev.

It looks like Russian control of events and loyalties in Crimea is pretty strong at this point. It also looks like the interim government in Kiev is having some difficulty on knowing whose loyalty they can count on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP call for Black Sea blockade in 5,4,3...... /nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, northsylvania

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:56:59 AM PST

    •  Turkish Navy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      pretty much rules the Black Sea.  I'm sure they are watching the situation closely, they aren't pro-Russian.

      Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.—Greg King

      by Pinto Pony on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:03:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Apparently (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mogolori, Lawrence, psnyder, Mokurai

      the Ukranian ships have defected to Crimea not Moscow.

      Also, it looks that at least part of the fleet has defied this defection, and set sail west to Odessa.  

      It will be interesting to see if this is repeated in the Army.  I imagine the Ukrainian Navy had a large number of Crimeans in the mix, which may have accelerated matters with that branch.

      by ManfromMiddletown on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:05:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At this point Crimea (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Flyswatterbanjo

        seems to be under effective Russian control.

        •  I think that the situation is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wreck Smurfy

          murky. RT has quite a bit of information up about the Crimea, but I don't trust it without outside confirmation. List night they reported the story about the Captain of the flagship of the Ukrainian navy defecting, but I didn't know whether it was true until the BBC reported it also.

          I think it may be the case that we all need to distinguish between Crimea and Russia, as I believe that the new Crimean government is not entirely under the control of Moscow.  My guess is that Simferopol is escalating in ways that even Putin finds unhelpful......

          As for the soldiers in the streets in Crimea, I still don't think it's clear whether they are Russian military, armed Crimean militia, or mercenaries. Regardless I think that the Ukrainian figure of 15,000 Russian troops is probably hyperbole designed to demand a Western response.

          Meanwhile, in the rest of Ukraine, RT is also reporting that the elected governments of 18 regions have been deposed and replaced by officials from the right wing opposition.

          by ManfromMiddletown on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:30:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  RT is Russia Television. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lawrence, ER Doc

            Take what they say with a large grain of salt.

            The Russian intervention appears to me to an unnecessary intrusion that simply makes matters worse.  What was the need for it?  Was Crimea under attack?

            "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

            by Publius2008 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:46:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think that the purpose of the Russian (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              intrusion is to create leverage in the larger argument. It was not intended to promote a peaceful atmosphere.

              •  Did they need to intrude to do that? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc

                I think I would have suggested that the people of Crimea have some right to self-determination.  Not sure what the rest of Ukraine might have said in response, but conceivably it could have been affirmative.  Without the need for the show of brute force and the kind of shadow on resolving things fairly that casts.

                "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

                by Publius2008 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:03:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am not saying that it was (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  just nice or right. The people of Crimea and those in the rest of Ukraine are pawns on the great power chess board. None of those great powers have much right to claim the moral high ground. If one is trying to understand what is happening on the ground it is necessary to understand the assumptions of the players. That does not constitute an endorsement of them.

            •  I don't disagree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but I think that the coverage from Western outlets hasn't been much, if at all, better.

              The repetition of the 15,000 number from the Ukrainian government would be a clear example of this.  Even the CNN respondent on the ground said that this is implausibly high, yet it continues to be repeated.  

              The Russian intervention appears to me to an unnecessary intrusion that simply makes matters worse.  What was the need for it?  Was Crimea under attack?
              From Radio Free Europe the backstory of that attack on Maidan supporters in Kharkiv.
              KHARKIV, Ukraine -- Wielding batons and riot shields, masked Euromaidan supporters have occupied the regional administration building in the eastern city of Kharkiv for several days. They vow to remain until "corrupt" officials resign.

              Across the city's main square, a few hundred pro-Russia demonstrators shout insults like "scum" and deride them as "fascists." They have also set up an encampment under a towering statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, which they claim to be guarding against vandalism from Euromaidan supporters. Russian flags flutter in the wind as pop anthems from Vladimir Vysotsky and the Perestroika-era rock band Kino boom out of speakers.

              One of the first moves when the opposition took power was to repeal protections afforded to the official use of the Russian language in Eastern Ukraine.  Also, reports from the Russia border control are claiming that 675,000 ethnic Russians have fled Ukraine since the start of the year.  If true, that's a refugee crisis on the same level as Sudan or the Congo.  In the heart of Europe.


              by ManfromMiddletown on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 02:34:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I basically figure that all of the media (0+ / 0-)

                have political axes to grind. If somebody just has to have a number here is a formula that would be as workable as any:


              •  nonsense (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc
                Also, reports from the Russia border control are claiming that 675,000 ethnic Russians have fled Ukraine since the start of the year.  If true, that's a refugee crisis on the same level as Sudan or the Congo.  In the heart of Europe.

                i lived in ukraine and have many friends there from lugansk to ternopil, some ethnic russians...there's no refugee crisis

              •  The refugee reports have been debunked (0+ / 0-)

                in another Diary. It makes no sense for Russians to flee a Russian takeover. There are no actual reports of Ukrainian violence against Russians.

                Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                by Mokurai on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:32:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If you accept the estimates (0+ / 0-)

            of the presence of Russian troops in Crimea, it doesn't sound very independent. I am inclined to take all of the news from any direction with a grain of salt.

      •  Since the Crimean government is effectively ... (0+ / 0-)

        under Moscow's control, they pretty much amount to the same thing.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:55:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  navy personnel tend to be recruited from (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Wreck Smurfy, TomP

    the Crimea itself and other coastal areas, such as Odessa, which are more ethnically Russian than western and central Ukraine

    the real test will the far more important Army, is it likely to feel more sympathy for Moscow than for the recently installed protest-movement govt in Kiev? to what extent is its ethos determined more by idealized memories of the Great Patriotic War against the Germans than by the right-wing sympathies of Svoboda and Right Sector?

    I'd be very surprised if it were ever to come down to a real shooting war between the Ukrainian and the Russian armies...

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:56:35 PM PST

  •  Recall who trained him and where. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not a surprise at all.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:36:57 PM PST

  •  The Ukranian Navy was for show anyway (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    Their fleet strength was non existent, and would have been cannon fodder against the superior Russian navy. Berezovsky probably felt like living a few more weeks than riding his captain's chair down to the sea floor.

    Mainly, the effect here is public relations, and the paranoia it will breed among enlisted Ukrainian soldiers, which could severely break down the chain of command if things get dicey.

    The Turks have 6-8 submarines patrolling the Black Sea, and a payload of nuclear weapons in their sea based arsenal. I don't think Putin is that arrogant to pick a fight with them.

    I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

    by harrylimelives on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:54:09 PM PST

  •  I think at this point it's obvious that there's (0+ / 0-)

    demonstration of overwhelming Russian majority in the flared-up areas in the Crimea. And the organized attacks on local gov buildings by disguised militia are likely doing wonders to unite the locals against the incoming troupes of opposition.

    I've seen several videos where a group of several oppo reps try to speak or whatever and get repeatedly shouted down as "FASCISTI!"... and one video where an oppo security guy is attacked and beaten pretty fiercely. The cops do intervene, but there are literally ZERO supporters of the oppo in these videos, only their security and helpers.

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