Russian-aligned forces have occupied the two key airports in the Crimea region of Ukraine, AP reports. A separate group of gunmen seized the Crimean parliament, hoisting a Russian flag on its roof. It is unknown whether these are Ukrainian sympathizers, or special/advance forces of the Russian Federation. Both airports are reportedly still operating, and locals are assisting the occupiers. Given the coordination of the capture of strategic objectives, it is unlikely that these are the spontaneous actions of local self-defense units sympathetic to Russia. The occupiers also reportedly arrived in Russian military model KAMAZ trucks, further suggesting Moscow intervention.
Anti-Imperialism.com will be following the events of the Imperialist division of Ukraine closely. The capture of airports by Russian forces were the first shots in the imperialist Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. This is an alarming development, as massive troop movements within Russia, including the mobilization of the Black Sea fleet, were just yesterday shrugged off as war-games by the Putin government. Russia retains a naval base in the Crimea, as well as a largely sympathetic civilian and commercial community, which it will most likely seek to defend from the NATO alliance which the new Ukrainian government has made clear it wishes to join.
Given the intense split in Ukrainian society witnessed in the last few weeks [for background, see here] it is possible, however unlikely, that the Russian Federation will seek to secure the separation of the Crimea by imperialist invasion.
At least 2,000 Russian occupation-troops have landed by aircraft in the Crimea region of Ukraine, AP is reporting. The bulk of the troops landed Friday evening even at Simferopol, one of the two military bases captured by Russian advance troops early this morning. Helicopters and armored vehicles have been sited by eyewitnesses, and Ukraine’s largest telecom has announced that it cannot connect the Crimea to any network in Ukraine at large, suggesting Russian interference. As predicted by anti-Imperialism, the Russian Federation seems to be moving forward with plans to dissever the Crimea from Ukraine, securing its commercial interests in the guise of ethnic solidarity with Ukraine’s minority Russian population. For the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, inter-imperialist rivalry in Europe threatens to balloon into imperialist war.