Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine was using terrorist tactics instead of trying to work towards peace in the region Wednesday following an announcement from Russia’s security agency that they had thwarted Ukrainian attacks in Crimea.
Putin accused Ukraine of “playing a dangerous game,” saying that “instead of looking for ways to reconcile peacefully, they have resorted to terrorist practices.”
The comments followed an announcement from Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, that they had uncovered a spy ring organized by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry which was plotting to enter the Crimea region.
Russia said that weapons were found during the incursion and that Russian and Ukrainian nationals were detained for their involvement in preparing terrorist attacks in the region.
Putin said that security in the region would be increased and that two Russian officers had been killed in the clashes, adding that “we obviously will not let such things go.”
Ukraine downplayed the incident and accused Russia of escalating the situation. President Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine condemns terrorism and aims to resolve the Crimea issue through “political and diplomatic means,” calling Putin’s allegations “senseless and cynical.”
One Year Since the Crimea Referendum
Over two years ago, Crimea passed a referendum — with a 96 percent majority — in favor of independence from Ukraine and unification with Russia.
At least 60 percent of the population of Crimea is of Russian descent, 25 percent is Ukrainian, and 12 percent is Tatar. Russia’s Parliament, the Duma, considered the accession of Crimea to Russia to be legal, but Ukraine and the West nonetheless rejected it.
Since the end of 2013, the U.S. and the West have been fomenting a political crisis in Ukraine after the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovich turned away from the European Union and instead turned more toward Russia.
This led to the U.S.-sponsored coup in February 2014 that was carried out by the country’s nationalist and fascist elements.
Ukraine, which is economically and politically the second most powerful country to emerge out of the collapse of the Soviet Union, turned into a perfect proxy for the U.S. to launch an international campaign to isolate and surround Russia, with the help of the EU and NATO.
The sanctions against Russia are directed against its economy.The Obama administration has put in place sanctions against several Russian banks and leaders, as well as against U.S. organizations, businesses and individuals who meet or negotiate with sanctioned banks.