Home Page | Photos | Video | Forum | Most Popular | Special Reports | Biz China Weekly
Make Us Your Home Page

Interview: Russian military movement in Crimea not aggression: Russian military expert

English.news.cn   2014-03-04 19:41:30

by Igor Serebryany, Han Liang

MOSCOW, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Current Russian troop movements in Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea was nothing unusual and could not be described as aggression, a Russian military expert said Tuesday.

Moscow had a right to deploy up to 25,000 troops in Crimea in line with agreements signed with Kiev as long ago as the mid-1990s, and currently there were only 18,000, Vladimir Kozin, chief of the advisers group to the director of the Russian Strategic Research Institute, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"Those troops have been deployed there long before the recent events. And they may legally stay there until 2042. So they pose no threat to Ukraine," said Kozin, who is also a Russian Academy of Military Sciences professor.

All Russian troops deployed in Crimea were attached to the Black Sea Fleet, in accordance with agreements signed between Moscow and Kiev following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the expert said.

According to the agreements, Russia has a right to move its personnel between its coastal facilities, for example from Kerch to Sevastopol in Crimea.

Kozin said the legal status of Russian troops in Crimea had been restricted to protection and servicing of the Black Sea Fleet stationed in the peninsula, adding they could not occupy any facilities not belonging to the fleet's infrastructure.

"Until recently, no frictions have ever appeared between Russian and Ukrainian military personnel. They used to hold joint drills and military parades, and participate in anti-terror operations," Kozin said.

Russian troops in Crimea could only use their weapons if they were attacked by the Ukrainian regular army, "that is, the people in military uniform," the expert said, adding attacks by paramilitary units or armed mobs would give the Russian troops a right to open fire.

Kozin said direct confrontation between Russian troops and Ukraine's regular armed forces was unlikely, but Russian troops in Crimea had to carry arms now for their own protection against possible attacks from armed mobs.

Western sanctions against Moscow would not affect its determination to protect Russian interests in Crimea, Kozin said, adding "Russia is free to impose symmetrical sanctions in retaliation. So the West and Kiev ought to think twice before taking these irresponsible steps."

The Ukrainian crisis, which originated from protests against President Viktor Yanukovych's decision last November to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union to get Russian aid, took an abrupt turn in the past two weeks, following bloody clashes between protesters and police. Yanukovych was ousted by the parliament and fled to Russia.

The mostly Russian-speaking Crimea is now the epicenter of the ongoing crisis. Some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags took control of two airports in the Crimean capital of Simferopol on Friday, one day after gunmen seized the local parliament and government buildings.


Yanukovych asks Putin to use force to restore order in Ukraine: Russian envoy

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Ousted Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych has requested Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to use force to help restore law and order in his turmoil-stricken country, Moscow's UN ambassador said here Monday.Full Story

Putin inspects troops amid tensions with Ukraine

BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has inspected Russian troops performing a military drill, as tension continue between Moscow and the west over the situation in Ukraine.Full Story

Russia refutes allegation of military intervention in Ukraine

MOSCOW, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Moscow on Monday refuted NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Council's allegations that Russia was conducting military escalation in Ukraine's Republic of Crimea.Full Story


Editor: Mengjie
Related News
Home >> In-depth            
Most Popular English Forum  
Top News  >>
Photos  >>
Video  >>
Top Science News Latest News  
  Special Reports  >>