Approximately 100 U.N. members affirmed a vote to not recognize the annexation of Crimea in a resolution co-sponsored by 50 of it members yesterday. Although General Assembly resolutions do not carry the weight, and are not legally binding like the resolutions that come out of the Security Council, they do carry moral weight from the International community.
European Union Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting said in regards to the situation in Crimea, “The European Union urges Russia to take steps to de-escalate the crisis, immediately withdraw its forces back to their pre-crisis numbers and garrisons in line with its international commitments; avail itself of all relevant international mechanisms to find a peaceful and negotiated solution in full respect of its bilateral and multilateral commitments to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,”
Even though 100 of the members supported the resolution, 58 countries abstained from voting and another ten, including Cuba, North Korea and Syria sided with Russia on the vote.
In Russia, a proposal has been submitted to the Russia State Duma to terminate a number of agreements between Russia and the Ukraine. One of the agreements slated to be terminated is one that ends the lease agreements for the Black Sea Fleet facilities in Crimea. As the Crimean region is now in Russia’s hands, they feel that the agreement regulating the status and conditions of the Russian Fleet there is not necesssary.
The Kremlin announced, “Following the signing of the treaty between Russia and Crimea on March 18, 2014 on Crimea’s accession to Russia and formation of two new regions within Russia, the essence of the Russian-Ukrainian agreements was lost due to the virtual cessation of legal relations of Russia renting facilities for its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.”
As details emerge of a Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border, the U.N. is convening again today to discuss the crisis further.
The United States has stated that the additional troops on the border show no signs of conducting any military training exercises as the Russia government claims that they are doing. It is reported that the Russian forces are working to conceal the size and positions of the military build-up on the Ukrainian border and have further moved to set up supply lines to provide food and parts to the military there.
The number of troops is believed to have ballooned by as much as 50,000 troops in the last couple of days, adding to the 30,000 believed to already be there.
Rising retoric from Russian President Putin stating that the Russian-speaking Eastern Ukrainians are being “brutalized in the region may be justification for a military move into eastern Ukraine and would explain the rapid build-up of troops on the border. An incursion into eastern Ukraine would enable Russia to have a land bridge to the Crimean region that is now separated from Russia by a portion of the Black Sea.
U.S. Lawmakers in the Senate have approved a $1 billion aid package for the government of Ukraine as has the House in a differrent version of the bill.
The ousted former President of the Ukraine has called for a national refrendum for Ukrainian regions to decide on their status with Ukraine. Former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko stated, “If these really are his words, then this once again proves that the person who was once the president of Ukraine has effectively turned into a tool used for Ukraine’s destruction.”