Russia has 12,000 troops in Russian-occupied Donbas supporting 28,000 local pro-Russian forces; 50,000 Russian troops across the border nearby in Russia proper; and the tens of thousands of troops in the Crimea garrison which they annexed.
Russia is up to something:
Vladimir Putin summoned his security council and the Russian Navy announced war games in the Black Sea, a day after the Russian president accused Ukraine of trying to provoke a conflict over Crimea, which Moscow seized and annexed in 2014.
The belligerent posture heightened worries in Ukraine that Russia may plan to ramp up fighting in a war between Kiev and pro-Russian eastern separatists that had been de-escalated by a shaky peace process.
I'm still not sure why Russia's accusations have any merit when you consider that Russia invaded Ukraine to take over Crimea. Even if Russia's complaint is true, isn't a Ukrainian effort to resist Russian aggression and liberate Russian-occupied Crimea fully justified?
Unless the accusation is that the Ukrainians were attempting to kill civilians in a terror attack, commando raids are fully legal.
For its part, Ukraine is demanding that Russia present its proof of their allegations:
Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko told reporters that he had challenged his Russian counterpart to produce proof during a closed-door meeting of the council.
"If it happened in reality, where are the proofs? Statements, pictures, photos, videos, whatever," said Yelchenko.
"They are only words."
The problem, of course, is that Putin will ride words into an invasion if he wants to. His words just need to convince his people and muddy the waters in the West where useful idiots will grasp the words as an excuse to do nothing--because how do we truly know who is telling the truth?
So now we are back to wondering whether Putin just wants to fully control the Donbas region in the east, or whether he wants to conquer a land bridge to Crimea or even push all the way to Odessa and then to Transnistria.
Our friends, the Russians. Don't trust them as long as Putin controls the country.
UPDATE: Yes, exactly:
Isn't it funny how all of the sudden everybody is talking about Crimea as if it were Russian territory, and not as if it were territory that Russia illegally and forcefully annexed from Ukraine?
Isn't it strange how people are speculating about whether or not Ukrainian spies breached the "border" with Crimea to conduct terrorist attacks, when in fact -- legally speaking -- no such border exists?
Crimea, legally speaking, is Ukraine.
And isn't it odd that we're having another he-said-she-said debate about the details of one alleged incident, and forgetting about the larger reality?
Of course not. The Kremlin tricks us into doing this all the time.
Why is it even a crisis that Ukraine might have tried to fight for their Crimea territory?
The crisis is that Russia conquered and annexed Crimea.
Hell, we should be helping Ukraine launch attacks into Crimea. Why is Crimea a Russian sanctuary?
UPDATE: Russia will have better ability to repel a missile barrage by Ukraine against targets in Crimea:
The Russian military has announced the delivery of new air defence missiles to Crimea, in a move scheduled before the latest tension with Ukraine.
The S-400 Triumph missile systems were earmarked for troops in Crimea last month, Russian media said at the time.
Ukraine would have to overwhelm the SAMs with barrages of missiles rather than send them in ones and twos.
Ukraine wouldn't be stopped from using artillery to bombard frontline Russian forces holding the neck of the Crimean peninsula leading to southern Ukraine.