For those of you that thought this wasn’t about energy… so basically, Russian special forces —
by the way, if you think special forces = rapelling off helicopters, you’re WRONG, they’re much more about being subtle in civilian environments —
anyway, so Russian special forces basically recruited a bunch of pro-Russian residents of Crimea to act as Putin’s parody version of the Maidan “self defense forces.”
Equipped with Russian military outfits and led almost certinly by “nope, I’m definitely not a Russian solider” special forces guys, these people proceeded to try and take over a bunch of airports in Crimea.
This didn’t last long, but presumably it didn’t have to. Russia had moved two massive troop ships into the Black Sea earlier that day, presumably destined for the Russian naval base in Sevastopol on Crimea.
(side note: look up the history of how the DDR came about, it’s interesting)
Now Russian military and more “nope we’re not Russian military please to be puttink away your camera” types have set up more checkpoints, started taking over radio / TV stations, etc.
In other words, a de-facto invasion while trying to preserve deniability until the last possible moment.
Why is this?
Most notably, control of Crimea would save Russia potentially $20 billion on a gas pipeline they’re building. But as one analyst puts it, there are other reasons, quoted below to save you opening the Word doc.
“- gas connection of Crimea, which is almost dependent on Ukraine in infrastructure and resources now, to Russia;
– neutralization or taking under the Russian control the perspective projects of gas exploration and extraction in the Black Sea, which were initiated by Ukraine with the engagement of leading European and American companies;
– deprivation Ukraine of the access to the major part of the explored offshore gas deposits and prospective hydrocarbon resources in the Black Sea;
– forcing the leading American and European oil and gas companies out of the Northern segment of the Black Sea;
– deprivation “Ukraine without Crimea” of the main space of the exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea.”
English version is a word doc, who knows if it’s infected with anything: http://geostrategy.org.ua/images/Gas_Subtexts_of_Crimea_Crisis.doc