Timeline of Events Surrounding the Russian Military Occupation of Crimea
Although the potential crisis in Crimea has roots that go much deeper than the recent Ukrainian presidential overthrow, the most significant developments have spun out of control since the overthrow took place. Everything from anti-Ukrainian protests to cultural differences can be found within the confines of this ongoing conflict.
Viktor Yanukovich – former Ukrainian President who was removed from office following protests. He was considered to be pro-Russian and upon his removal fled into Crimea before entering Russia.
Yulia Tymoshenko – former Ukrainian Prime Minister who was sentenced to prison following allegations of embezzlement. She was released from prison following the overthrow of Yanukovich’s regime. She is noted for being a devout Ukrainian nationalist who made moves to align Ukraine with the western European nations.
Oleksandr Turchinov – acting President of Ukraine. Along with Tymoshenko, he belongs to the nationalist party All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”. The party is known for its pro-European leaning.
Aleksey Chaly – acting mayor of Sevastopol who is pro-Russian.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk – acting Prime Minister of Ukraine. He belongs to the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party.
Denis Berezovsky – acting Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Navy. On 2 March, Berezovsky was defected from his position and soon aligned himself with the pro-Russian antagonists in Crimea.
Angela Merkel – acting German Chancellor.
Vladimir Putin – acting Russian President.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier – acting German Minister of Foreign Affairs.
John Kerry – acting United States Secretary of State.
Sergei Lavrov – acting Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Aleksander Vitko – acting head of the Russian Navy.
Barak Obama - acting President of the United States.
Ukrainian Parliamentary vote to remove Yanukovich from power is successful. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Tymoshenko, is freed from prison.
Turchinov is handed provisional powers until an official vote is cast on 25 May. Turchinov is seen negatively by the pro-Russian camp which begins protests in Crimea.
Warrant for the arrest of Yanukovich is issued accusing him of the mass killing of civilians.
Ethnically Russian area of Crimea appoints Aleksey Chaly as mayor of the city of Sevastopol.
Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protestors clash in Crimea. Russian troops near the Ukrainian border are assembled.
Government buildings are seized in Crimea by pro-Russians. Yanukovich is granted asylum in Russia.
Soldiers seize Simferopol International Airport and an airfield in Sevastopol. The United States sends a warning to Russia advising against military action. Russian officials advise the reasoning behind the mobilization is for the protection of ethnic Russians.
Russian Parliament approves a request to use the military in Ukraine. A Ukrainian frigate raises the Russian flag.
Additional Russian troops enter Crimea. Multiple sources indicate forces in the hundreds wearing non-descript uniforms. A Ukrainian tank was placed at an entrance to a base in which the Russians were surrounding but no shots were fired.
Ukraine places its military on highest alert and calls up military reservists. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk states, “This is not a threat: this is actually the declaration of war to my country."
Berezovsky, former head of the Ukrainian Navy, has a treason case opened against him after advising that he has switched alliances to Crimea’s pro-Russian leaders. He stated that he “swears allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea”.
German Chancellor Merkel and Putin speak. Putin advises that he stands by his decision to mobilize his army in Ukraine but will work to find an alternative to international crisis. Putin also agrees to set up a contact group which allows western countries to collect evidence regarding the potential abuse of human rights.
German Foreign Minister Steinmeier advised G8 members to reconsider vacating Russian membership. “The format of the G8 is actually the only one in which we in the West can speak directly with Russia” (Deutsche-Welle).
Kerry threatens to isolate Russia and hints that Russian assets could be frozen which could lead to a freeze of the Russian currency; does not threaten military intervention.
Comparison of Military Strength
The Russian Ruble and stock exchange are affected by the Ukrainian fiasco. GAZPROM shares dropped 12 percent. SBERBANK also dipped by 12 percent. Moscow sells $10 billion of its gold and foreign exchange reserves.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states that activity in Crimea is for the benefit of “defending our citizens and compatriots and ensuring human rights and the right to life” and stated Russian troops will remain “until normalization of the political situation.” Lavrov states in response to the new pro-Ukrainian regime that “radicals [are in control and limiting the rights of] linguistic minorities.” (Deutsche-Welle)
Russia’s military gives an ultimatum to Ukraine's military to give up its Crimean bases or face a “military storm”. Ultimatum is issued for 5 am local time on the morning of 4 March. Later reports surface from Russian media disputing this claim.
Reports surface that the Duma will vote to pass a bill allowing for the legal annexation of Crimea and similar areas ("similar areas" are undefined at the time of writing.)
European Union issues a warning to Russia threatening to freeze visa liberalization and boycotting the upcoming G8 summit.
Obama warns Russia of continued political and economic isolation should it continue its unprovoked military actions. In his trip to Kiev, Kerry will allegedly offer Ukraine economic assistance.
Russian troops have not attacked as mentioned in the previous day’s ultimatum although the unmarked soldiers remain installed around Crimean military compounds.
Putin speaks and states that Russia has the right to use force to protect its compatriots but the use of force would only be used as a last resort. In his first public speech since the crisis began he blamed European stock market drops on US. He insists that Yanukovich is still the legitimate leader of the nation and was ousted by and “anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power.” He denies claims suggesting Russian forces are in the country and explains that they are local defense units. Putin reiterates that he recognizes only Yanukovich as the legitimate Ukrainian president and is only acting in response to his requests. He further warns "that any damage from sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over its actions in Ukraine would be multilateral” (CNN)
NATO calls a second emergency meeting and will allegedly consider which sanctions will be placed. US sanctions are believed to be considered against Russia’s natural gas, uranium, and coal industries along with the potential freezing of Russian accounts in the US and other countries. US announced that it is suspending military engagements with Russia.
US announced $1 billion in aid for Ukraine, showing support for the current government. Aid is believed to be in response to Russia’s cutting of Ukraine’s natural gas supply. Ukraine is reportedly $1.5 billion in debt to Russia for energy usage. Ukraine ratifies an agreement allowing it to receive loans from EU worth 610 million euros.
Unmarked soldiers in control of the Belbek air base fired warning shots into the air as a warning to the approximately 300 Ukrainian soldiers who previously belonged to the base. The Ukrainian soldiers allegedly marched unarmed, demanding their jobs back. Along the Ukraine/Russia border Ukraine doubles defenses at security checkpoints.
Turkish military calls up eight F-16 fighter jets in response to a Russian plane flying along the Turkish coast of the Black Sea.
At approximately 14:10 central time Russia tests a Topol RS-12M missile. The missile is an intercontinental ballistics missile (ICBM) and was launched from the Kapustin Yar test range near the Caspian Sea and reportedly hitting its target at the Sary Shagan range in Kazakhstan. Russia had informed the US – in accordance with the New START Treaty- about the test.
American stocks rebound and have record-setting days.