Yesterday when I said Putin still had plenty of cards to play, this is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about:
Dozens of armed men seized the regional government administration building and parliament in Ukraine’s southern Crimea region Thursday and raised the Russian flag, in a challenge to the Eastern European country’s new leaders.
Crimea, with its ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new political leadership in Kiev after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster Saturday.
The incident, coming a day after Russia ordered surprise military exercises on Ukraine’s doorstep, has raised fears about the push and pull of opposing allegiances in a country sandwiched between Russia and the European Union.
It looks increasingly likely that it will be a shrunken Ukraine which ends up enjoying its new government.