Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he ordered officials to start work on taking control of Crimea weeks before a referendum which, the Kremlin has asserted until now, prompted the region's annexation from Ukraine. ...
Russian state television channel Rossiya-1 aired a brief extract of an interview in which Putin said he had called an emergency meeting in February last year to discuss the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich hours earlier. ...
"This was on the night of Feb. 22 through to Feb. 23. We finished around 7 in the morning. And, while saying goodbye, I told all the colleagues: 'We have to start the work on Crimea's return into Russia'."
I wasn't far behind Moscow in planning the "return."
Stratfor, I should add, has looked at Russian invasion options at this point.
I agree that Russia could sweep the the Dnepr River, which is why I have advised no major defensive effort by Ukraine east of that line with their regular forces.
But if I wanted a land bridge to Crimea, I wouldn't restrict myself to a narrow southern corridor, however. I'd drive from the northeast to include a line from Kharkov to just east of Dnepropetrovsk.
That line would take in more people, who would have to be pacified, but would shorten the front line and make the corridor more secure at the base.
The need for Russia to both hold the front and pacify the locals is another reason I didn't think Ukraine should commit their army to the east in large amounts. Preserving the army must be the priority of Ukraine if it comes to a bigger war.
I guess we have to see if Russia's army really is stretched to the limit, or not.