US intel agencies insist Russia is bluffing in Ukraine, reports @elilake. http://t.co/eEag0QR2hw
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) February 28, 2014
Despite US intelligence this morning apparently concluding that Russia was bluffing in its stance towards Ukraine and Crimea, within the past 10 minutes the BBC are reporting that a column of Russian APCs is advancing on Simferopol, while at least 5 Russian military planes have apparently already landed there.
This is despite a warning just a short while ago from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Russian intervention in Ukraine would be a "grave mistake".
It would appear that Vladimir Putin is setting out to demonstrate the limits of American power and European influence.
Things are developing much more quickly than I certainly expected, and while Russia is probably free to do as it chooses in Crimea, the implications for the rest of Ukraine will largely depend on how Russian-speaking Ukrainians react to the unfolding events.
Whatever way you look at it, shit just got real.
#Ukraine: Video emerges purporting to show Russian combat helicopters flying over #Crimea http://t.co/WnQ1mMdez7 pic.twitter.com/u6H1focdJ0
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) February 28, 2014
A convoy of 8 Russian military vehicles drives on the periphery of #Simferopol #Crimea #Ukraine http://t.co/ChPp0SELp0
— Pierre Crom (@PierreCrom) February 28, 2014
***ALERT*** reports are coming in that there is indeed a Russian no-fly zone over #Crimea. #Ukraine #Russia pic.twitter.com/3mciTr0eOV
— AmericanDefenseNews (@AmDefNews) February 28, 2014
Armored personnel carriers spotted near Sevastopol. Troops said they were Russian federation from Krasnodar #crimea pic.twitter.com/cI13HjOJ6n
— William Booth (@BoothWilliam) February 28, 2014
The more I think about this, the more I think that Putin has concluded that the longer-term trends in Ukraine are against a lean towards Russia and towards a lean towards Europe. He is preparing to let go of Ukraine, but at a price: Crimea.