Despite clear evidence otherwise, presented here extensively yesterday, this morning Ukraine has denied that is has "plans to send armed forces to Crimea" and instead Ukrainian troops are performing "training exercises" in base, Interfax news agency quoted Acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh as saying on Sunday. Responding to media speculation about Ukrainian military movements after Russian forces took control of Crimea, Tenyukh said the only troop movements that might be seen would be from one base to another to take part in the training exercises. "No movements, no departures for Crimea by the armed forces are foreseen. They are doing their routine work which the armed have always had," he said. Right, and Russia just happened to launch an ICBM as a "drill" in the middle of the greatest Cold War re-escalation in 30 years.
Adding somewhat to the confusion was the statement by Pavlo Shysholin, head of country’s border guard service tells reporters in Kiev, who said that so far Ukrainian border guards denied entry to 3,500 people and that Ukraine border troops remain in Crimea, would leave only if "forced" but more importanly:
- UKRAINE BORDER TROOPS BOOST FORCES ON EAST BORDER: SHYSHOLIN
So there is an escalation in the mobilization, only not toward Crimea, which the Russians already control entirely, but the critical East, which as everyone knows, is the next target for Putin annexation once the Crimean referendum passes in one week.
Confirming just this were just released photos from another major city in east Ukraine, this time Lugansk, where pro-Russian protesters just stormed and took over the city administration building. Their demand: to be part of the March 16 referendum to become part of Russia.
A clip of the latest peaceful pro-Russian takeover via LifeNews:
Lugansk's location in context:
And so one by one, the cities in east Ukraine are slipping away to Russia, even as Obama continues his Key Largo vacation and makes the occasional phone call.