The Olympics are now over, which means that Russia can finally start taking steps toward making good on its warning from last week, spoken by a senior government official to the FT, that "If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war," adding that "they will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia." And while there have been photos (so far unconfirmed) of Russian military vehicles heading into the Ukraine, for the time being Russia has kept a surprisingly low profile. Until now.
- MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIANS IN UKRAINE FACE THREAT IN UKRAINE: RIA
- MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIAN INTERESTS UNDER THREAT IN UKRAINE: RIA
- MEDVEDEV QUESTIONS LEGITIMACY OF UKRAINE'S INSTITUTIONS: IFX
- MEDVEDEV HAS NO INFORMATION IF AZAROV IS IN RUSSIA: RIA
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday said Russia had grave doubts about the legitimacy of those in power in Ukraine following President Viktor Yanukovich's ouster, saying their recognition by some states was an "aberration".
"We do not understand what is going on there. There is a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens," Medvedev was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.
"There are big doubts about the legitimacy of a whole series of organs of power that are now functioning there."
Finally, from the AP:
Dmitry Medvedev said Monday, according to Russian news agencies, that the new authorities have come to power as a result of "armed mutiny," so their legitimacy is causing "big doubts."
He said Russia would be ready to resume relations with Ukraine once it sees a "normal, modern government based on laws and constitution of Ukraine."
"If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government," he said.
Medvedev added that Russia's decision to recall its ambassador in Kiev for consultations meant that "there is a threat for our interests, and for life and health of our people in the embassy."
All this is happening as (insolvent) Europe is scrambling to obtain the tens of billions it needs to make good on a topping overbid for the Ukraine, something which Russia appears to be largely laughing about, and certainly something which Gazprom, which incidentally holds the fate of all of Europe, and not just Ukraine, in its hands. Literally.
As we have said since the Ukraine coup became official: keep an eye on the Russian response. Right now it is all that matters.