A World Turned Upside Down
As I've said before, when Kiev was in flames on the Maidan, we thought 'well, at least we are at the opposite end of the country, as far away as we can possibly be.' Last Shabbos in Donetsk, people also thought 'it can't happen here.' But the world seems to have turned upside down in Ukraine now! A basically peaceful people is engulfed in chaos and fear!
Watch the excellent video on this and other links below. (For some reason they are not linking -- simply copy/paste them please.) Russians seem to have sunk one of their own ships, the Soviet-era Ochakov, in a bid to block Ukrainian vessels from heading out into the Black Sea, naval ship, blocking Ukrainian boats.
As far as the recent vote, people do not believe that it was honest, and as for the "referendum" deciding Crimea's future, very few have hope for it. About 50% of Crimeans are "Russians" and nearly everyone speaks Russian, but over 73% of the people consider their homeland to be Ukraine. One person I spoke to still has hopes that Crimea will remain an Autonomous Republic of Ukraine, but others do not. I was told many will not vote in the upcoming referendum, either because they fear reprisals, or because they consider it to be an illegal vote, as the "true government is in Kiev" and decisions about borders need to be passed by a referendum of all Ukrainians. More people are telling us "absolutely do not even think of returning now -- it is very dangerous for you, in general, and especially so because you are Americans!" A sample message reads: "Hi, it is scarying, yes, we are staying, there is nowhere we can leave to! I still hope the Russians will withdraw, here in Simferopol not many people support joining to Russia, only a few, and they are just afraid to raise their heads!"
Russian Cossacks are now guarding the "White House," mere steps away from us. Supposedly Chechnians are on their way to volunteer for the Ukrainian side. With a combination like this, what kind of a peaceful solution does this bode???
This is the de-facto annexation of Crimea - watch video...
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