WASHINGTON — Ukraine has officially announced the evacuation of their troops and families from the Crimean peninsula, essentially acknowledging that Russia now controls the formerly autonomous Ukrainian region.
Reuters reported that after Russian troops invaded several Ukrainian military bases, Ukrainian troops refused to surrender but did not offer armed resistance.
Russia and their president, Vladimir Putin, officially annexed Crimea last week and embarrassed U.S. President Barack Obama and the West. Putin had asserted Russia’s right to the region, which the West denied was a valid argument. Also, the annexation has led to weak sanctions by the U.S. and European Union.
It all started when pro-European Union (and anti-Russia) protests forced the ouster of pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. After the parliamentary vote passed and pushed Yanukovich out of office, unmarked Russian soldiers rapidly appeared in Crimea and surrounded Ukrainian military bases. Ukrainian soldiers in mainland Ukraine, to the north of Crimea, have been put on alert and partially mobilized their army in case Russia plans to invade eastern Ukraine.