Russia has invaded Ukraine. How will the West respond?

It appears that a Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically the Crimea, is ongoing, or at least the Ukrainian Interior Ministry thinks so, and the Russian Parliament is readying laws to incorporate new territory into the Russian Federation easily. A law has also just been passed allowing Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship almost immediately.

Unconfirmed video of Russian MIL attack helicopters being flown to Sevastopol airport. Ukrainian ministry talking of an attempted naval blockade.. Unconfirmed photograph of road blockade leading to airport in Sevastopol. BBC journalists reporting Russian troops on the move in Sevastopol and another photo of the Russian warship making its way into Balaclava Bay.

How will the West respond? Ukraine has a large border with Poland, an EU member. Russia also signed a memorandum with the UK and US in 1994 vowing to respect Ukraine’s integrity.

Although the situations aren’t the same, I imagine it’ll be largely the same way they responded to the South Ossetia crisis

It seems vanishingly improbable that the West will put its own troops on the ground/ships in the harbour. That leaves diplomacy and I doubt that the West has any actual leverage to use here. Russia can cut off gas; the EU is pretty unlikely to cut off the gas money.

If Ukraine manages to send in its own troops to restore control over roads, airports and sea lanes then I’m sure they’ll receive strong backing from the West. But I don’t know how likely that is, given the chaotic situation and the evident ambivalence of the local Ukrainians.

Other than some wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, there’s not much the West can do.

The US has already painted a “red line” (saying that invasion of Ukraine would be a “grave mistake”), but this seems strangely similar to the administration’s bumbling response to Syria.

My guess would be some minor diplomatic actions and loud talk from the administration. Now, if the new Ukrainian parliament dissolves the Kharkiv Pact or a civil war breaks out, there’s no telling.

Much like it did to the annexation of territory in Georgia: Denounce the actions loudly but do nothing of substance.

In what way is that a “red line”?

If I said to you,** Lion**, holding up a 7-11 would be a “grave mistake”. Would I be drawing a “red line” as well?

The US has no cards, I’m embarrassed Kerry asked the Russians to leave Georgia.

But that ended well enough.

It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Say something strident without ability or intent to back it up and look like a fool.

Say nothing because you know there’s nothing you can do and look callous or complicit.

Perhaps even more importantly, Poland is a NATO member, along with Romania, Slovakia and Hungary which also all border Ukraine.

Did it? It might have been that kind of confused, hot and cold response that makes Putin confident enough to employ this type of brinkmanship.

But Ukraine isn’t, and I’m not aware of any protection pact, defence treaty or anything of the sort between it and NATO *or *Poland, Romania, Slovakia & Hungary. On paper, they’re on their own, besides the predictable hand wringing on the part of the UN.

A strongly worded letter to Putin is all the military help they’ll get if push comes to shove.

So what’s your plan? NATO tanks rolling into Ukraine?

We’re not going to get into a war with Russia over Ukraine. That is not going to happen, and never was going to happen. You think if a manly man like George W Bush were president, Putin would be scared of an American military response?

I am worried that Obama might pull an Asquith.

Even though Crimea is part of Ukraine, Russia has military, ethinic, and financial interests there, even more so than Syria. The US getting involved militarily would be a blunder of historic proportions. So, at most, the EU and US could impose some kind of economic sanctions, if it is found that Russia has violated some international law.

Neither is Ukraine a member of the EU.

You mean -

Nah. Michelle would kill him.

The US has guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity. That worries me. A lot.

I think Russians are the majority ethnic group in Crimea, and I also recall that during the Soviet era it was originally part of the Russian Soviet Federation Socialist Republic. Then Khrushchev, who was part or all Ukrainian took it away from the Russian SFSR and gave it to the Ukrainian SSR pretty much as a gift.

So both as a matter of history and nationality Ukraine’s claim the the Crimea is short of airtight.

1st page of Google hits does not reveal anything about this, but I do not think there is any chance the US is anywhere near committed to Ukraine to the extent the UK was committed to Belgium in 1914, if that is what you meant.