5 Reasons Why Crisis in Crimea May Lead to All Out War Between Ukraine, Russia

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 3, 2014 9:00 PM EST

With signs of Kiev losing control of Crimea becoming increasingly evident and tensions rising to an unprecedented level in the peninsula, things don't seem to be going right with Russia and Ukraine as well as with international diplomacy.

Reuters
Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars. Here are five reasons why tensions could lead to a war between Ukraine and Russia. (Reuters)

Even as diplomatic efforts to avert dangerous escalation of the crisis is pushed to the highest level, Russia doesn't seem to give much heed to the collective condemnation that has been flowing in from its G8 partners (Now G7).

The world's seven major industrialized powers have suspended preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi which was due by June. European Union foreign ministers are due to meet in an emergency session in Brussels.

"No shots have been fired and no treaties signed but Crimea is now de facto under Russian armed control," Mark Lowen from BBC News said.

Ukraine's interim government, that has been widely considered to be fragile, has accused Russia of having declared war, and has ordered mobilization of its armed forces.

But even as signals of a massive military miscalculation looms large, defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected calls from the West to pull back his troops. He claims to have the right to defend the interest of Russian speaking people in the region.

The United Nations said on Sunday that it's Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson is travelling to Ukraine to assess the situation. A statement said that he would brief the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the next steps the United Nations could take to support the de-escalation of the situation.

While diplomatic efforts are in full, Crimeans themselves are happy about Russia's intervention. But they are collectively fearful of what comes next.

Here are the five Reasons why an all out war seems to loom large:

1.     Russia's Interest in Defending Russian Speaking People

There is no way any country could undermine the strength of Russia's interest. Recent history has suggested that when the country chooses to define an interest, it tends to take shape in a robust and aggressive fashion.

It can be remembered that Vladimir Putin was left red-faced on the G8 summit 2013 held in Northern Ireland, when all members collectively hounded him for supporting Syria's regime. But not even for a moment did he step back from his position.

This relentlessness on Russia's part tends to herald an uneasy eventuality even in Crimea. It has no qualms on being the aggressor and the first to take arms and even a collective condemnation from the international community does not shake Kremlin.

2.     People from Crimea Identify Themselves with Russians

This is a bitter fact. People from Crimea, being Russian speaking people, identify with the Russians and this seems to be a major reason that is giving a boost to Russia's aggression.

More importantly, Russia does not recognize the present authority in Ukraine. Russia claims that Kiev is in the hands of an illegitimate government that has xenophobic, anti-Semitic and neo-fascist views and says that President Victor Yanukovych was removed illegally.

Russia initially wanted more self-rule for Russian-speaking regions and Crimea as per an agreement signed with Victor Yanukovych on 21 February. But for that to be possible, Yanukovych should still be recognized as the president, which the West doesn't. So Russia has decided to take things into their hands in defending Crimea's interest.

3.     Russia Declared War, Says Ukraine

What adds to the tension is the compulsion for Kiev's interim government to mobilize its troops as the armed forces of Russia have already taken a strong-hold of Crimea with all the blessings of the people there.

The interim Prime Minister has said that Russia has declared war against Ukraine forcing its allies to come to its aid. US President Barack Obama's 90-minute telephone conversation with Putin on Sunday does not seem to have yielded any concrete results.

The United States is not a sleeping giant, but it indeed is a 'giant' both in size and prowess. People around the world know only too well what would happen, if this giant is really pulled into an all out war, an indication of which is rife of late. This takes us to our next point.

4.     Russia's 'Interest' Also Includes a 'Cold War' Era Defiance to the US

There can't be two ways of looking at this. One good reason why Russia would bulldoze its interest over Crimea is the very fact that the West, a major face of which is the US, is opposed to it. It tends to always fare well with Russia to display difference of polarity with America, an indication that the cold war is not over and perhaps never will.

5.     US, G8, NATO, IMF on Aid to Ukraine, Much to the Chagrin of Russia

In what could be a major set-back for Kremlin, rest of the members of the G8 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US - have sided with Ukraine.

In a statement released from the White House, the group said that it condemned the Russian Federation's clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"We have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June," it added.

In addition to that, the G7 finance ministers have said they were ready to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars. Here are five reasons why tensions could lead to a war between Ukraine and Russia. (Reuters)
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