Vladimir Putin puts troops on alert in western Russia, near Ukraine

By Jeffrey Rindskopf,

Russian President Vladimir Putin has put soldiers in western Russia on alert, ordering drills to test their combat readiness. This is likely in connection with the recent Ukrainian revolution that threatens Russian influence over that nation.

The Telegraph reports that there is tension in the pro-Russian Crimea, whose citizens oppose the pro-European regime that recently gained power in Ukraine.

It's a sign of Russia's dissatisfaction with the revolution, and a move that will likely only raise the volatility of the situation. The recent events in Ukraine threaten the unity of the nation, as there are both fiercely pro-European and fiercely pro-Russian areas at odds over the country's future.

According to Reuters, Russia said the drills were not linked to Ukraine's revolution, and had been previously planned. Putin himself has made no statement on the Ukrainian situation since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich was driven from office.

The U.S. and many European nations have warned Russia not to interfere with military intervention in Ukraine, a move that could turn the embattled nation into a battleground between East and West.

In the Crimean capital city Simferopol, revolutionaries and their pro-Russian adversaries were embroiled today in a feud outside the regional assembly, shouting insults. Small physical altercations have broken out between the two sides, involving fist fights and pepper spray. An elderly man reportedly died of a heart attack in the melee.

How these kinds of protests and feuds will affect foreign action in the nation remains to be seen.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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