This morning Putin signed a treaty to annex Crimea:
NY TIMES – A defiant President Vladimir V. Putin claimed Crimea as a part of Russia on Tuesday, reversing what he described as a historic mistake made by the Soviet Union 60 years ago and brushing aside international condemnation that could leave Russia isolated for years to come.
Within minutes of delivering a passionate speech to Russia’s political elite, Mr. Putin cemented his pledge by signing a draft treaty with Crimean leaders to make the strategic Black Sea peninsula part of Russia. The events unfolded two days after Crimeans voted in a disputed referendum to break away from Ukraine. While the treaty signed Tuesday still needs parliamentary approval, that is regarded as a formality.
Last night BillO was arguing that Putin wouldn’t take any more than Crimea unless we provoked him in some fashion. But Lt. Col. Ralph Peters disagrees, says regardless of provocation, Putin will take at least Southeastern Ukraine if not the whole of Eastern Ukraine and he explains why below:
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Prime Minister says their conflict with Russia is entering the ‘military stage’:
YAHOO NEWS – Ukraine’s Western-backed prime minister said on Tuesday that his country’s conflict with Russia was entering a “military stage” following claims by Kiev that one of its officers was shot and wounded in Crimea.
“The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told an emergency government meeting. “Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen, and that is a war crime.”
Ukraine’s navy chief Sergiy Gayduk said earlier that an officer had been shot and injured in the leg “during an attack against a base in (Crimea’s main city of) Simferopol.”
He did not specify where or when the incident happened or who was behind the attack.