Things are evolving more quickly in Ukraine than the news can keep up with. Looking at a recent BBC article from May 13, 2014 and one from the New York Times from May 10, 2014, here’s an update on important terms you need to know and some of the new facts concerning the situation in Ukraine.
The first area to break away from Ukraine in an “official” move of self-government. I highly recommend knowing the timeline of events beginning with the Ukranian Revolution, but also specifically for the key contested areas in the country. I will pull from the Timeline from Al Jazeera; there is also one from Wikipedia but I prefer the Al Jazeera timeline.
March 18: Putin signs treaty absorbing Crimea into Russia, the first time the Kremlin expands the country’s borders since World War II.
March 27: UN General Assembly approves a resolution declaring Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea illegal.
April 1: NATO announces it is suspending “all practical civilian and military co-operation” with Russia.
“On April 18, all residents of Crimea will automatically become Russian citizens. Those wishing to retain Ukrainian citizenship have until then to file a formal statement declaring their allegiance to Ukraine, and will be barred from taking government jobs.” (NYT)
May 12: Pro-Russia activists declare resounding victory in a twin referendum on sovereignty for eastern Ukraine. The provinces of Donetsk and Lohansk voted on Sunday to secede from Ukraine.
May 22: Fighting occurring on the ground
“The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is being deployed following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government and a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating States. The monitors are to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security.”
Presidential Election on May 25
includes a presidential poll, electoral reform, and constitutional changes.
Referendum for the self-rule of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Both declared themselves independent of Ukraine. This does not mean, however, that Russia has annexed these areas. Nor does it mean that the international community recognizes this referendum.
“A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the United States would not recognize the results of the votes. She said the referendums “by armed separatist groups are illegal under Ukrainian law, and are an attempt to create further division and disorder,” adding that if they proceed, “they will violate international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” NYT
“NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday that “those referendums don’t count.” He called the vote “illegal.”
The referendum was “organized in a chaotic manner with dubious and ambiguous questions,” he said, adding that the only “thing that counts” is Ukraine’s planned presidential election on May 25.
“I urge all actors to make sure that those general elections can be conducted in an orderly manner,” Rasmussen said.
He said that he feels NATO and its allies have sent a “very clear message to Moscow” and assured its allies. Recently, U.S. Army forces have been deployed to Poland and three Baltic states. Amanpour challenged Rasmussen, asking him whether he thought that was enough to demonstrate “heft.”
Rasmussen responded that NATO is “considering further steps.”
“Those further steps might include an update of existing defense plans, development of new defense plans, enhanced exercises and also appropriate deployment,” he said.
It’s too early, he said, to describe anything more specifically, “but we will not hesitate to take further steps if needed,” he said.” CNN
sovereignty (Click for Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy definition and theory)
noun \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē, -vərn-tē alsoˈsə-\
: unlimited power over a country
self-rule or self-government
noun \-ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt, –ˈgə-vəm-ənt\
“But even in Donetsk, the wording had people baffled. Some interpret the question as a vote for more local autonomy, some for independence and still others as a step toward inviting annexation by Russia, following the example set in Crimea.” (NYT)
And an interesting take of self-government theory.
“Russia’s gas company, Gazprom, has asked Ukraine to pay $1.66bn (£1bn) for gas deliveries in June. Gazprom says Ukraine owes it $3.5bn. It recently doubled the price Ukraine must pay for gas – a move that Kiev has refused to accept.” (BBC)
regarding Ukranian popular opinion on the referendums and self-rule