Anybody Else Think That the Ukraine Will Become Divided with Russian Interference? And What of the Church There? Watch and Pray

Update:

As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested —and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine.

My opinion:  I think President Obama should send rapid reaction forces to the Ukraine.  We need to follow the George H.W. Bush model in the Persian Gulf War -- a build-up of forces (perhaps with NATO allies) to secure the rest of the Ukraine against a Russian takeover (like he protected Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion with the goal of the removal of troops from Kuwait).  We should set a red line at the border of the Crimea and do all we can internationally to get the peaceful withdrawal of Russian forces from the Crimea peninsula.  I don't think we should threaten war over Crimea, unfortunately, but I do think we should let Russia know that the Ukraine will be invited into a fast track of approval for NATO (with all of its defensive benefits) and the European Union if they do not withdraw from all of Ukraine. 

Ukraine latest - The invasion begins: armed Russian-speaking gunmen with Crimea in their grip as Barack Obama warns Moscow

According to the British paper, The Independent, yesterday, new Crimean officials were named, most of whom were sympathetic to separatism.

The bitterness, division and the desire for retribution that has surfaced since the overthrow of Mr Yanukovych was evident on the streets of Simferopol yesterday. Gangs of Russian-speaking men used racist epithets against Crimea’s vehemently anti-Moscow, minority Tatar community.

Into this combustible mix appeared Vladimir Zhirinovsky, seen by many internationally as a somewhat absurd figure but not here, not in the current atmosphere.

The veteran demagogue of the Russian far right turned up at a roadblock outside Simferopol. Beaming members of the Crimean People’s Brigade were only too happy to help him on his way to Sevastopol, the home of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.


The article states that racist epithets were used against minority Tartars and that Zhirinovsky referenced Siberian gulags were thousands perished under Stalin.  

Mr Zhirinovsky had flown into Simferopol on Friday afternoon. In the morning, six military trucks had arrived at the airport, disgorging men in combat fatigues, balaclavas, and helmets who were carrying semi-automatic rifles and PKN machine guns. They had brought mortar rounds and, according to airport officials, rations for two months. [click link to read more]
"I appeal to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to provide assistance in ensuring peace and tranquillity on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," stated Sergiy Aksyonov, the new pro-Moscow leader of Ukraine's autonomous Crimea region.  - according to the BBC

Mr Aksyonov, who leads the main pro-Russian party in Crimea, was elected prime minister of Crimea by the region's parliament this week in an emergency session, replacing Anatoliy Mohylyov.

A Kremlin source said it would "not leave unnoticed" the request from Sergiy Aksyonov.

He went on to announce that he was taking control of security in Crimea "on a temporary basis".

"All commanders are to obey only my orders and instructions," Mr Aksyonov said. "I ask all those who refuse to do so to resign."

Unconfirmed report that "13 Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops had landed at a military air base near Simferopol . . . Earlier in the day, Russian armoured vehicles and helicopters were seen in and around Simferopol and Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet are based," according to a BBC story.

"Several hundred armed men in green camouflage, without insignia and carrying military-style automatic rifles, entered and secured areas of the civilian airport in Crimea’s regional capital of Simferopol early Friday," reports the Washington Post.




In Kiev, Ukraine’s new interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said the armed men were Russian troops.

Events in and around Crimea are raising concerns. They include Russian military maneuvers and an armed takeover of government buildings there with RPG’s, assault weapons, etc. and the raising of the Russian flag over the facility.

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I'm not the only one who sees history potentially repeating itself. Remember Hitler's early military ventures and the reasoning behind it? It was to "protect" ethnic Germans? The Crimean peninsula is home to nearly 60% ethnic Russians

Russian military move on Ukraine would echo HITLER annexing the Sudetenland, expert warns



+++++++Original blogpost ++++++++



The last week has been a rather dizzying one in the events transpiring in the Ukraine.  Once a part of the old Soviet Union, the Ukraine got its independence in 1991.  So did Georgia.  

source

Russia has used its leverage as an energy supplier to bully its newly independent neighbors. Georgia's economy suffered greatly. Additional headaches came from the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia which maintained close ties to Russia. In August of 2008, hostilities broke out involving Russian troops.  Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent in August of 2008. Georgia and much of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military. South Ossetia is dependent on military, political and financial aid from Russia.  

Which brings us back to the Ukraine.  In recent memory, the Ukraine was having a political/economic conflict with Russia over the supply of natural gas.  Even more recently, the European Union and Russia were actively wooing the Ukraine into their orbit. Inexplicably, the Ukrainian president flip-flopped and sided with Russia.  The people erupted into demonstrations in the capital city of Kiev. 

Within the past week, those demonstrations led to incredible events on the ground.  After the Interior Ministry acted against protesters, resulting in many deaths and injuries, swift and remarkable changes were unleashed.  The Interior Minister was sacked.  The former prime minister who was under arrest, Yulia Tymoshenko, was released and spoke to demonstrators.  A constitution from 2004 was re-instated.  New elections were called and the now former president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, is missing and seeking to flee to Russia, it would seem. 

The question now is what will Russia do? Will it pull another South Ossetia?  Crimea, with its close proximity to Russia (not to mention its history but more on that in a minute), is more interested in being linked to Russia.  To this question, the Russian prime minister has added emphasis by his recent comments.  


"Russia denounced Ukraine’s interim leaders as dictators on Monday and blasted the western governments that it said helped bring them to power, in a sign that the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovich is triggering a regional stand-off."

"The Russian foreign ministry claimed the new leadership was infringing on the human rights of Russians and other minorities in Ukraine. 'This is headed towards the suppression of dissent in several regions of Ukraine by dictatorial and sometimes almost terrorist means,' the ministry said in a statement."

"Dmitry Medvedev, prime minister, said Moscow’s bailout for Kiev would remain on hold until a 'normal, legitimate government' was in place." 

It would seem that if Russia were looking for an excuse to intervene in the Ukraine and get back a portion of its former member state, this would be that opportunity.  Crimea and some pro-Russian areas in the east have seen protests against the overthrow of Mr Yanukovych, sparking fears of secession, reports the BBC.

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In a related report, the Crimea region of the Ukraine which is autonomous and has a government led by a president appointed by Ukraine's parliament is seething.  Politicians and citizens are mobilizing and even asking Russia to help defend the region from what is going on in the capital Kiev.  This territory has no interest in the European Union, finding more in common with its ethnic counterparts in Russia.  Of the approximately two million residents, nearly 60% are ethnic Russians.  Just about a 1/4 are Ukrainian. Remember the justification for Hitler's early invasions and annexations regarding ethnic Germans and you can see the real risks here.  

The BBC reports:
There are concerns that the current turmoil could offer the Kremlin a perfect chance to assert its claim on Crimea, a territory which many Russians believe is theirs anyway and has only come under Kiev by a bizarre twist of fate.

Crimea was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by the then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, himself an ethnic Ukrainian.

Before the Soviet times, it was known as "the playground of Russian tsars" because of its warm climate and the sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has himself in recent months raised eyebrows in Ukraine and the West, when he seemed to question the territorial integrity of Ukraine.


For those wondering about the Church in the Ukraine, perhaps the following links will help: 



Ukraine: Stories of faith, hope and love amid the grief
Published 24 February 2014 | Michael Trimmer

Russian Ministries reports:  “Ukrainian society is divided between Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic Church and a large number of Protestants or Evangelicals like Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics and Independent Evangelical Churches.


Ukraine Erupts in Violence

URGENT CALL FOR PEACE AND PRAYERS IN THE MIDST OF VIOLENCE, CHAOS AND BLOODSHED.

My conclusion:  Please join me in praying for the Ukraine and for outside forces that could join the chaos in determining its fate.  Pray for the Christians who probably feel caught in the middle.  May the Word of God and the Spirit of God move in amazing ways during these difficult days.  

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