World View: Ukraine Mobilizes Troops to Oppose Russia at Gas Facility

This morning's key headlines from
  • Ukraine mobilizes troops to oppose Russian troops attacking gas facility
  • China abstains on anti-Russia Security Council resolution
  • Russia faces biggest anti-Putin protest in two years
  • China lambastes Malaysia for withholding MH370 flight information

Moscow sees the biggest anti-Putin demonstrations in years (AP)
Moscow sees the biggest anti-Putin demonstrations in years (AP)

Ukraine mobilizes troops to oppose Russian troops attacking gas facility

Ukrainian troops have been mobilized to oppose a Russian armed force attacking a gas facility in Ukraine's mainland, north of Crimea. The armed force consists of 80 Russian troops, backed by four helicopter gunships and armored vehicles. This comes amidst reports that the Russian military is moving surface to air missiles into Crimea.

Ukraine supplies almost all of the fresh water, electricity, gas and food that Crimea consumes, and so this may be only the first of several Russian invasions of the Ukraine mainland to secure Ukrainian facilities that supply these things.

A Russian official is justifying the invasion to guard against "terrorists," which is the code word used by Russia's president Vladimir Putin and by Syria's genocidal monster president Bashar al-Assad whenever either of them wants to use military force to exterminate an ethnic group. Telegraph (London) and AP

China abstains on anti-Russia Security Council resolution

As expected, Russia exercised its veto on Saturday on a resolution that declares Sunday's Russian-sponsored secession referendum in Crimea as having "no validity." The United States was among 13 members that affirmed the resolution. The interesting case was China, which has stood by Russia in vetoing any resolution that even mildly criticized Syria's Bashar al-Assad. In this case, China abstained.

As I wrote last week in "10-Mar-14 World View -- Ukraine - Russia crisis presents problems for China," because any secessionist resolution that China approved might apply to secessionist provinces in China -- Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. So China was forced to abstain, leaving Russia completed isolated on its invasion of Ukraine.

After the Russian veto, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said that the veto would not change the aspirations and destiny of the Ukrainian people:

Nor can it change Crimea’s status. Crimea is part of Ukraine today; it will be part of Ukraine tomorrow; it will be part of Ukraine next week; it will be part of Ukraine unless and until its status is changed in accordance with Ukrainian and international law.

Russia faces biggest anti-Putin protest in two years

Some 30,000 protesters demonstrated in Moscow on Saturday against Russia's president Vladimir Putin, for the biggest anti-Putin protest in two years. The Ukraine invasion is the trigger for the protests, but they also protested against rising corruption, political repression and censorship under Putin.

However, an even bigger pro-Putin demonstration is expected on Sunday. Putin's increasingly nationalistic agenda is appealing to the public, giving Putin an approval rating at 70%. In a recent poll, two-thirds said they believed that not only Crimea but also mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine were "in essence" Russian lands.

Still, the large protest represents the second embarrassment, along with China's Security Council abstention, for Putin on Saturday. Putin had hoped that Russia would experience continuing good will from last month's Olympics games in Sochi, but whatever good will was gained has now been dissipated. Reuters

China lambastes Malaysia for withholding MH370 flight information

As one of China's neighbors in the South China Sea, where China is using its military might to confiscate properties that have belonged to other nations for centuries, China and Malaysia have already had a minor but tense military confrontation. ( "29-Jan-14 World View -- China's military moves to seize Malaysia's James Shoal" from January.)

So it's not surprising that China is furious with Malaysia over the investigation of the disappearance of flight MH370, which was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying mostly Chinese passengers. According to a Saturday editorial from Xinhua:
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak revealed a trove of new information that virtually made the massive rummage in South China Sea for the Boeing 777 aircraft and the 239 people on board a huge waste of valuable time and resources. ...

But it is undeniable that the disclosure of such vital information is painfully belated -- more than seven excruciating days after the 227 passengers and 12 crew members lost contact with their beloved relatives and friends.

And due to the absence -- or at least lack -- of timely authoritative information, massive efforts have been squandered, and numerous rumors have been spawned, repeatedly racking the nerves of the awaiting families.

Given today's technology, the delay smacks of either dereliction of duty or reluctance to share information in a full and timely manner. That would be intolerable.

As the leader of the international search and rescue mission, Malaysia bears inescapable responsibility. Other parties that possess valuable data and information, including plane maker Boeing, engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and intelligence superpower the United States, should also have done a better job. ...

With time ticking away and the fate of Flight MH370 still shrouded in mystery, it is vital and imperative that the Malaysian side work more thoroughly and efficiently and other major information holders -- not least the Unites States -- be more open and forthcoming."
It's somewhat laughable that China, with one of the most opaque governments in the world, is demanding that the United States be "more open and forthcoming." We wish that China would also be more open and forthcoming, especially about its preparations for a preemptive military attack on the United States. Xinhua

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