As you might have heard, armed men stormed the parliament building in Crimea today. They raised the Russian flag and chanted pro-Russian chants. I don’t know, maybe they also gave away a bunch of those weird nested dolls while yelling “We wuz robbed in that hockey game against the capitalist Yankee devils!” It was a very pro-Russian move in the majority Russian part of Ukraine, which is not majority Russian.
The question is, who were those armed men? It’s a good question.
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Masked gunmen stormed parliament in Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region Thursday as Russian fighter jets scrambled to patrol borders, while the newly formed government pledged to prevent a national breakup with strong backing from the West — the stirrings of a potentially dangerous confrontation reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.
In Crimea’s capital, a pro-Russian activist who gave only his first name, Maxim, said he and other activists were camped overnight outside the parliament in Simferopol when about 50 men wearing flak jackets and carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers and sniper rifles took over the building.
“Our activists were sitting there all night calmly, building the barricades,” he said. “At 5 o’clock unknown men turned up and went to the building. They got into the courtyard and put everyone on the ground.”
“They were asking who we were. When we said we stand for the Russian language and Russia, they said: ‘Don’t be afraid. We’re with you.’ Then they began to storm the building bringing down the doors,” he said. “They didn’t look like volunteers or amateurs; they were professionals. This was clearly a well-organized operation.”
“Who are they?” he added. “Nobody knows.”
Wrong. Somebody knows.
*Crimea isn’t in the Caucasus. It’s near the Caucasus. Ukraine’s location is strategic enough that it could export any civil war that erupts there.