Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), also on the trip, was more skeptical of lending U.S. military might to Ukranian troops. “There is no military solution, there’s only political solution,” he said. “Given the pitiful state of readiness within the Ukrainian military, I think it’s important to be careful about approving these requests.” [The Hill]
THE UN Security Council vote on Saturday was predictable, with 13 nations voting against the referendum in Crimea, China abstaining, and Russia using its veto. Senators inside the Ukraine weighed in, as the vote in Crimea most certainly will be in Putin’s favor.
In Moscow, 50,000 reportedly rallied against Crimea intervention.
Congress is getting nowhere on aid to Ukraine, even as the situation becomes more and more tense.
Senators Durbin, a strong Obama ally, and John McCain, echoed what Atlantic Council’s Ian Brzezinski said on “Morning Joe.” That a military component must be part of Obama’s strategy, because that’s all Putin understands.
The American public is against getting involved in Ukraine, two to one, according to a Pew Research poll just last week.
Unnamed Ukraine officials have informed the Associated Press that Russian forces have reportedly moved beyond Crimea ahead of the referendum.
Russian forces backed by helicopter gunships and armored vehicles Saturday took control of a village near the border with Crimea on the eve of a referendum on whether the region should seek annexation by Moscow, Ukrainian officials said.
… In a statement, the Foreign Ministry denounced the foray outside Crimea, and said Ukraine “reserves the right to use all necessary measures to stop the military invasion by Russia.”
The village is on a long spit reaching northward from the main part of the Black Sea peninsula, about 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the border between Crimea and the Kherson region.
On Sunday, Jay Carney released a statement.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine:
The United States welcomes the agreement signed today between Ukrainian President Yanukovych and Opposition leaders. The agreement, facilitated by Foreign Ministers Fabius, Sikorski, and Steinmeier and witnessed by Russia, is consistent with what we have advocated in calling for a de-escalation of the violence, constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections. We support the efforts of all those who negotiated this agreement, commend the courageous opposition leaders who recognized the need for compromise, and offer the support of the United States in its implementation. Now, the focus must be on concrete action to implement this agreement, which we will be monitoring closely.
In this regard, we call for immediate implementation of the initial steps — an end to the violence, amnesty and security normalization, and passage of the constitutional package in the Rada — to provide space for the negotiations to begin on formation of a technocratic coalition government. Respect for the right of peaceful protest ““- including on the Maidan ““- is essential. As we have said, there must be accountability for those responsible for the violence and the casualties that have resulted since the crisis began, and we remain prepared to impose additional sanctions as necessary. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people as they work to restore peace, security, and human dignity across the country and determine the future course of their nation.