Russia declared Crimea an “autonomous” region on Monday. Five top pro-Russian military and security commanders took an oath to Crimea.
Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov appealed to Russia for assistance.
It appears that Russia has taken control of Crimea without firing a shot and is referring to it as the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” presumably with the intention of making it a puppet state of Moscow.
Ukraine’s government in Kiev is only a few days old and seems to be in disarray. So far, it’s avoiding any strong military overreaction that would provide Russia with an excuse for a further military invasion, perhaps into eastern Ukraine beyond Crimea. However, the government warned Sunday it was on the brink of disaster and called up military reservists to counter Russia’s threat to Ukraine.
Russia has appointed Sergey Aksyonov to prime minister of Crimea, and on Sunday he announced:
I believe that this day will go down in history of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy. We will prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.
Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an independent, integral public authority. I am sure that all of us will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can give Crimeans what they expect from us.
We will never see ‘Maidan’ with their black smoke and burned tires here. I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm, quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here happily.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the decision to send in troops was only to protect human rights.