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Update from our Ukraine Project Manager. Yanina K. (Jane OI)

Date: 
2014/04/04
While I'm writing this article Ukraine still remains the hot spot on the world's map and is in the news every day. Once Ukrainian former President Viktor Yanukovych escaped to Russia, Crimea has come under control of local police forces, as well as heavily armed troops under apparent command from Moscow. On the 16th of March the referendum was held in Crimea in order to decide if the peninsula will leave Ukraine and become part of Russia. 
 
Needless to say that at first referendum was agreed to be held on 25 of May 2014 but in a rush it was decided to conduct it almost as soon as possible.
 
Following the vote, it was reported that over 98% of voters supported the choice to join Russia The discrepancy led to some reports of a 123% turnout in Sevastopol. Crimea authorities declared its independence from Ukraine the next day and requested to join Russia. On the same day, Russia recognized Crimean Sovereignty.
The majority of Crimean Tatars, Crimea indigenous nation, ignored the referendum (the population of Crimea is approximately 2mln people and tatars amount 12% of it). Despite pro-russian sources announce completely different data. We know that the information war has started and manipulations with facts are good instruments during Putin regime's propaganda.
 
Western world (USA, European Union states, Australia, Canada as well as Ukraine) did not recognize the results of referendum to be legitimate. Crimea as a part of Russia was recognized by Kazakhstan and unrecognized Abkhazia;  the following countries supported the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum: North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.
By Western nations the Russia's actions were interpreted as agression and annexion of Ukrainian territories and  will have a long-term negative impact on Russian relationship with the world.
 
The EU and the USA have imposed sanctions against the Russian and Ukrainian officials who were responsible for the referendum in Crimea. The new set of sanctions is being prepared.

 

As for the Crimeans: russian part of the population are celebrating the results of the referendum, other citizens who did not support the vote are willing to relocate to another Ukrainian regions. 

Crimean Authorities stated that all the property built or owned by Ukraine state will be nationalized. Still Crimean Peninsula is very dependant on the electricity, water and gas supplies transported from Ukraine. Transportation system is also tied to Ukraine. Russia is planning to build bridge across the Kerch channel but it will take long time to do that. Crimea is a recreation spot and 70% of tourists were coming from Ukraine, for the next vacation season it is predicted to be a huge decrease in tourist flow.

At the moment Ukraine and Ukrainians are still under the risk of further Russian intervention into the Ukrainian territiories.

Russia has everything to successfully invade Ukraine if such decision is taken. NATO Authorities state that Russian troops are ready ,and they are able to achieve their  targets in 3-5 days. Among the possible targets are Southern Ukraine in order to create a land corridor to the Crimea, Odessa and even Transnistria.

In addition Russia has been locating the troops close to the Northern and North-Eastern Ukrainian borders, and they could possibly enter Eastern Ukraine, if Moscow orders them to do so.

Still Russia is encouraging Eastern and Sounthern regions of Ukraine to hold the referendums and separate from Ukraine via massive media propaganda and influence in those regions.

 
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