Ukraine: War or Peace?
PTS graduate Youry O. wrote us this morning:
S.O.S. Urgent Prayer request from Ukraine!
Dear friends! We ask you to take with us a heavy burden of prayer for our country, Ukraine and our family. As you may know from watching the news, for the last three months our country was struggling from protests and violent clashes between police forces and protesters who tried to overpower corrupt pro-Russian government in the country. There are more then a hundred people killed and tortured, thousands are wounded already. After the former president of Ukraine fled to Russia, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, commanded its military forces to invade Crimea (Southern Ukraine), and now there is a serious threat that they will advance into all Eastern part of Ukraine where we live. People are frightened. Economy is staggering. If the conflict escalates on the international level it may even grow into a WWIII. We ask you to think that suddenly some else’s war may very soon consume all of the world. Please, ask your church, your friends and families to pray for safety of our family, for the peace in Ukraine, and for the peace to all of civilized humanity. We do not want our children to see the war in there homeland! Please, do not stand aside.
- US Official Claims 6,000 Russian Troops In Complete Control Of Crimea
- Putin Requests Use of Russian Military in Ukraine
- Putin Hints That He May Not Stop at Crimea
- US suspends trade talks, military activities with Russia
- Rumsfeld: ‘It is US weakness that has shaken the world’
- Analysis: Kerry heads to Kiev with policy to counter Putin still evolving
- Crimea becomes flashpoint of Russia, Ukraine drama
- Ukraine fears hit world stock markets
- Ukraine’s UN ambassador vows: ‘We will succeed’
- READ: Ukraine’s letter to United Nations
IEV/BALACLAVA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor in Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. “This is not a threat: this is actually the declaration of war to my country,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said in English. Yatsenuik heads a pro-Western government that took power in the former Soviet republic when its Moscow-backed president, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted last week.
Putin secured permission from his parliament on Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine and told U.S. President Barack Obama he had the right to defend Russian interests and nationals, spurning Western pleas not to intervene. Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea, an isolated Black Sea peninsula where Moscow has a naval base. On Sunday, they surrounded several small Ukrainian military outposts there and demanded the Ukrainian troops disarm. Some refused, leading to standoffs, although no shots were fired. However, the cohesion and loyalty of Ukraine’s armed forces were called into doubt when the commander of the navy defected to the side of Crimea’s new premier, Sergei Aksenov. Adm. Denis Berezovsky announced that he had sworn allegiance to the Crimean government leader installed Thursday by pro-Moscow lawmakers, who met under guard by masked and heavily armed Russian soldiers. Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said Berezovsky was being charged with treason. As Western countries considered how to respond to the crisis, the United States said it was focused on economic, diplomatic and political measures, but made clear it was not seriously considering military action. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kiev on Tuesday to show “strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference or provocation,” the State Department said in a statement.
MORE DEMONSTRATIONS IN EASTERN UKRAINE
With Russian forces in control of majority ethnic Russian Crimea, the focus is shifting to eastern swaths of Ukraine, where most ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian as a native language. Those areas saw more demonstrations on Sunday after violent protests on Saturday, and pro-Moscow activists hoisted flags for a second day at government buildings and called for Russia to defend them. Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but they have so far not crossed. Kiev said Russia had sent hundreds of its citizens across the border to stage the protests. Ukraine’s security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert. But Kiev’s small and under-equipped military is seen as no match for Russia’s superpower might.
The Defense Ministry was ordered to stage a call-up of reserves, meaning theoretically all men up to 40 in a country with universal male conscription, though Ukraine would struggle to find extra guns or uniforms for significant numbers of them. Kerry condemned Russia for what he called an “incredible act of aggression” and brandished the threat of economic sanctions. “You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext,” Kerry told the CBS program “Face the Nation”. He said Moscow still had a “right set of choices” to defuse the crisis. Otherwise, G8 countries and other nations were prepared to “to go to the hilt to isolate Russia”. “They are prepared to isolate Russia economically. The rouble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges,” he said. He mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.