- Experts fear Crimea could become next flashpoint!
by Ben Farmer, London Daily Telegraph, via http://www.thestarphoenix.com/
The White House warned Russia to keep its troops out of Ukraine Sunday amid fears that Moscow may step in with military force following the overthrow of the president, its ally.
Tensions also mounted in Crimea, in the southeast of Ukraine, where pro-Russian politicians are organizing rallies and forming protest units, demanding autonomy from Kyiv. The region is now seen as a potential flashpoint because of its deep strategic significance to Moscow.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s national security adviser said it would be a “grave mistake” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to send soldiers into Ukraine to restore a friendly government.
Susan Rice said nobody would benefit if Ukraine were to split apart. “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence return and the situation escalate,” Rice said. Her warning to the Kremlin followed concerns over renewed tumult in Ukraine if eastern regions of the country side with Russia against the overthrow of president Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine is deeply divided between its eastern regions, which are largely pro-Russian, and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych. The Crimean port of Sevastopol may be part of Ukraine, but it is the Russian tricolour that flutters proudly above the port’s barrack blocks and warships.