Note: This post was drafted on Saturday, 3/22/2014.
The above map convinces me the Ukraine crisis isn’t over. Russia has now annexed the Crimea. You’ll notice from the map above that Crimea is not directly connected to Russia. If Crimea were an island rather than a peninsula I think its annexation would be the end of the story.
But since it is a peninsula surrounded by Ukraine, it is pretty exposed from the Russian point of view. At some point, they will want a hard link to their new territory. Think if Canada was hostile to the United States and actively seeking support elsewhere. Do you think we’d refrain from seizing British Columbia if we felt that was the only way to hold onto Alaska? Not if we felt Canada was working against our Alaskan interests.
So, in my view the Russians will want a land link to Crimea to consolidate their hold. Ideally they would want to take territory with a natural barrier just in case NATO or other parties were to actually ever come to the defense of Ukraine, something I really doubt will happen. However, looking at the map above, it seems like the only real natural barrier is a series of lakes and rivers that ultimately run straight through Kiev. So it looks like Russia couldn’t have their natural barrier to defending Crimea without taking out the capital of Ukraine. That’s what worries me.
On the other hand, I’ve made any number of dire predictions to my friends that have not come to pass. So I hope I’m wrong. Perhaps Russia will settle for supporting Crimea by sea. Or Ukraine will approve a supply route. Or at worst, the Russians will simply seize the minimum territory needed to assure a road link from Crimea to Russia proper. But I’m doubtful.
Filed under: current events |