Not only have Russian troops invaded and occupied Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, but with deteriorating security in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, there’s a risk that Russia might go farther.
At first, it wasn’t clear who exactly who the armed men were who appeared at airports in Sevastopol and Simferopol overnight on Feb. 28. But on March 1, the Russian senate unanimously approved a request from Pres. Vladimir Putin to use the military “on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the social and political situation in that country.”
The operation was already underway. Russian forces had launched a coordinated takeover of key sites, including airports, government offices, television stations and the two land routes connecting Crimea to the rest of Ukraine.
Someone sabotaged Ukrtelecom, which provides phone and Internet service to the peninsula.
All told, there are thousands of Russian soldiers operating openly in Crimea. The Russian 810th Separate Naval Infantry Brigade from Sevastopol—roughly equivalent to U.S. Marines, has deployed outside the Ukrainian navy’s headquarters. The result is, so far, a bloodless invasion—achieved partly from within, partly from outside.