'Kommersant' carries this story:
Party of Regions leaves Crimea in peace
"Regionaly" assert that the experiences of South Ossetia and Abkhaziya will not repeated in the Autonomous Republic [of Crimea]
Yesterday the Crimean PoR organization supported the actions of the Russian Federation in the Caucasus in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But PoR also emphasized that a similar scenario could not be repeated in the Crimea, because it is "an integral part of Ukraine". However, despite this clarification the medzhlis of the Crimean-Tatar nation, and the Crimean branch of Rukh both accused PoR of attempting to unite Crimea and Russia.
Representatives from PoR emphasized that the Autonomous Republic the Crimea must not become a region of instability and geopolitical rivalry. "Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine, in contrast to the republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose citizens were not the citizens of Georgia," stated the leader of the Crimean PoR Vasiliy Kiselev.
Yesterday Crimean Communists responded to PoR's statements thus: "It's a great pity, that they expressed support [for South Ossetia and Abkhaziya] so late, complained the first secretary of the Crimean Communist Party leader Leonid Grach. "As always they sat and swallowed their tongue until Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovich appeared from Altai [where he likes to go for a spot of R&R] and made some vague pronouncement," Grach added.
"This [acknowledgement of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhaiya] is hundred per-cent provocation and ignores fact that similar moves can end badly, said an indignant leader of Rukh in Crimea, Leonid Pilunskiy.
In the opinion the first deputy chairman of the medzhlis, Refat Chubarov, any revision of boundaries in the post-Soviet space is a sure path to the destabilization of relations between all of its states."
LEvko's view is that no-one really knows what the Kremlin's intentions are in Crimea, provoking much anxiety both in Ukraine and elsewhere. A brief statement of clarification on this matter from president Medvedev or PM Putin would greatly reduce tension, but it is unlikely any such statement will be forthcoming. This alone is a cause for concern.
ps. Did Ukraine ever officially recognize Kosovo's independence? I seem to recall consultations were to be held but didn't they just 'kick the ball into the long grass?'
Saturday a.m. Update:
Last night PM Putin, in a German TV interview, clarified the situation on Russia's attitude to Crimea.
"Crimea is no kind of disputable territory. There have been no ethnic conflicts there...inside Crimean society complex processes are taking place. There are problems of the Crimean Tartars, the Ukrainian population, the Russian population, the entire Slavic population. But this is an internal political problem for Ukraine itself," he said, adding, "We have an agreement with Ukraine about our fleet remaining there until 2017, and we will be governed by this agreement."
"Russia recognised the borders of Ukraine a long time ago. In essence we have concluded, in general and totally, our negotiations on borders. The talk [now] is about democracy, but these are technical matters," said Putin.
LEvko says, that's more like it. Maybe the bear's appetite has now been sated.