Ukraine braced yesterday for a breakaway vote in Crimea as deadly violence flared again in the ex-Soviet country’s tinderbox east amid the biggest East-West showdown since the Cold War.
The second successive day of deadly unrest that has claimed at least three lives in the mainly Russian-speaking east came hours after Moscow — its forces already in control of Crimea and conducting snap drills at Ukraine’s eastern border — warned that it reserved the right to “protect” compatriots throughout its neighbor.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had on Friday failed to either avert today’s ballot in Crimea or win Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov’s assurance that Moscow may delay annexing the Black Sea region that Ukraine received as a “gift” from then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.
The rugged peninsula of 2 million mostly Russian speakers is widely expected to vote to split from Ukraine and join Russia after its lawmakers declared independence from Kiev earlier this month.
The referendum comes in direct response to three months of deadly protests which on Feb. 22 toppled the pro-Kremlin former president and brought to power a new nationalist European-leaning team in Kiev, infuriating Moscow, which views Ukraine as its strategic sphere of influence and wants to retain influence over its former Soviet satellite.
Kiev has denounced the Crimean vote as illegal, but is also warily watching as similar separatist sentiments are being fanned by Moscow supporters in other industrial regions in mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, which has deep cultural and trade ties to Russia.
Yet Moscow — whose troops took effective control of Crimea in the days after the Ukrainian president’s Feb. 22 fall — strongly backs the referendum, despite a new round of painful sanctions against top Russian officials that Washington and EU nations are expected to unveil tomorrow.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he expected to sign in Brussels on Friday the political portion of an historic EU Association Agreement, whose rejection in November last year by the deposed government sparked the initial Kiev unrest.
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
ORDNANCE: Under a five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute would make about 200 Hsiung Feng II and III/IIIE, and Hsiung Sheng missiles, an official said The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow
The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. The name was initially chosen for its significance to the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as