From Where Did Russia “Invade” Crimea?

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The region north of Crimea is in Ukraine. If Russian forces had swept down from the northeast, they’d have had to cover a considerable distance through Ukraine proper and been photographed from satellites. Invasion from that quarter simply didn’t happen. The only other place where Russia comes close to Crimea is near Kerch on the eastern Crimean side, separated by water from Slavyansk-na-Kubani in Russia. Invading from that location or north of it would have required an amphibious and naval force. No such mass invasion occurred, although some movements of Russians by naval means occurred.

The point is that Russian interventions in Crimea had to have come mainly from within Crimea where Russian forces were already stationed.

I thank Christopher Watson for pointing this out. As he wrote

“We heard of troops massing at the border, and of a massive Russian invasion of Crimea. After just a quick perusal of the area, one question that seems to stare me in the face that no one has answered let alone asked is, ‘Invaded…from what border??!?'”

The so-called “invasion” of Crimea, whatever it is or is not, cannot have been an invasion across a border via an assaulting force. The image conjured up by troops massing and invading is not what happened.

The term “invasion” also conjures up images of assault, capture, seizure, and annexation. I defer to the Wikipedia catalog of events. Prior to the March 16 referendum, there were several scattered confrontations, some by what are called “pro-Russian” forces. There was no coordinated assault. The main body of captures and seizures occurred after the referendum.

Is the term “annexation” even accurate? I say no, not if it’s meant to connote a one-way action in which a big power takes over a smaller territory. Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation. I say no, not if the term annexation is meant to connote a U.S.-style annexation. Contrast this with the U.S. annexation of the Philippines after fighting a very bloody war against Aguinaldo who led the native forces in their quest for independence. Contrast Crimea with the U.S. annexation of Hawaii, voted upon by Congress, not Hawaiians. There were years on end of resistance to joining the U.S. The whole episode was a classic U.S.-style takeover, involving a coup, a puppet government, and then the signing of a treaty with that puppet government!

5:18 pm on April 3, 2014