Daily Video

March 3, 2014

Ukrainians prepare for conflict as Russian troops move into Crimea

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By the Associated Press

Ukraine readied its military forces for war on Sunday following Russian President Vladimir Putin declaration of Russia’s right to invade the country.

As Russian troops maintained a hold on the eastern Ukrainian region of Crimea, the Ukrainian security council put its military on high alert. The country’s defense ministry also issued an order to call-up reserve troops.

“This is not a threat: this is actually the declaration of war to my country,” Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.

Russian forces surrounded local military bases on Sunday and ordered Ukrainian troops to disarm. These actions have led to standoffs with Ukrainian soldiers who have refused to follow these demands.

Yatsenyuk asked Putin to retract his military forces and warned that “we are on the brink of disaster.”

The new prime minister also sought out help from NATO under a 1994 accord between the organization and Moscow that guarantees security for Ukraine. NATO ambassadors met in Brussels to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

Rebuffing calls to back down, Putin said Russia has the right to protect its interests in the ethnically Russian part of the country. He has also said that Russian speakers in other parts of eastern Ukraine were under threat from the Ukraine’s new pro-Western government.

Below is a BBC graphic comparing the military might of the two countries.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Russia and where is Ukraine?
  2. What do you know about what’s currently happening in Ukraine?
  3. What is the current relationship like between Russia and Ukraine and why?
Discussion questions
  1. On Friday, the president of the United States issued a statement saying that there would be grave consequences if Russia used military force against Ukraine. What might the U.S. do if Russia invades Ukraine?
  2. The new prime minister of Ukraine has reached out to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries for help with Russia’s growing threat of force. How could the NATO alliance be helpful to Ukraine?
  3. Do you think Russia and Ukraine will go to war? Why or why not?
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