A rally backing Russia in Sevastopol in Crimea. Photo by Viktor Drachev/Agence-France-Presse–Getty Images.
The current crisis in Ukraine, or more particularly in the Crimean peninsula, has become a conundrum that is both as old and as new as the issue of self-determination. To the United States and Europe, Crimea is but a smokescreen for Russian invasion.
Sevastopol in Crimea is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet since 1783, thus emphasizing the great strategic military value of the peninsula to the Russians. Crimea has also strong historical and ethnic ties to Russia or to the old Soviet Union before Khrushchev gave it up to Ukraine, and its population predominantly speak Russian as their language.