"While Russia has pledged not to intervene in Ukraine's domestic affairs, it has issued a flurry of statements voicing concern about the situation of Russian speakers in Ukraine, including in the Crimea. Some Russian officials accuse the West of being behind the revolt against its fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the capital last week. U.S. and European officials have denied such allegations. In addition to Putin ordering the military exercises, Russia's defense ministry said it would take steps to strengthen security at facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, where there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators. Pro-Russian protesters have spoken of secession, and a Russian lawmaker has stoked their passions by promising that Russia will protect them. Those steps have raised fears of possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine along the lines of its 2008 operation in Georgia, which led to the occupations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and was roundly condemned by the United States and its European allies." Foxnews and the AP
I did not hear a "pledge" in what Lavrov said about this. What I heard was a statement of principle conditioned on a reasonable situation and behavior in Ukraine. That is quite a different thing. Western media, especially the carefully controlled US MSM are, of course, seeking to twist this to the policy needs of the Obama R2P government. This is analogous to the manner of the present silence concerning the recent shipment of mustard gas from Lattakia.
Today we learn that the deposed Ukrainian president has been given asylum in Moscow and that Russia considers him to be the legitimate president of the Ukraine. The policy gambit available to Russia is obvious.
We also have Russia conducting readiness exercizes in the Western and Central military districts. As TTG has commented such exercizes are necessary in order to "shake down" units which have been in garrison for a long time and to prepare them for action in the field. One can be sure that there are also command post exercizes underway to ready the chain of command. Is this a bluff? It may be but as I have said elsewhere the element of uncertainty produced by this activity is a useful thing from the Russian point of view.
As OOFDA pointed out today, the Morning Joe pumpkin heads are reacting to all all this in a way typical of many US media and political creatures. They seem unable to grasp the fact that the US does not rule the world and does not have infinite authority and power to move events far away. Two failed wars have not reduced their hubris, a hubris perhaps inspired by a mysterious surgical process of brain removal that seems all too common in the US in the modern age. It used to be a joke in the US Army that officers who were promoted to full colonel were automatically scheduled for such a procedure. I missed my appointment. I was also an SES and missed that operation as well. In Kerry's case, he must have volunteered for it.
I would remind one and all that Russia still possesses around 500 ICBMS tipped with very large warheads. If the old truths remain the same, their megatonnage is typically larger and heavier than ours because their missiles are less accurate. Remember. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces are a force in being, not some sort of reserve. pl