by Stephen Lendman
On Tuesday, Simferopol snipers shot and killed a Crimean self-defense member and Ukrainian soldier. Another self-defense member and Ukrainian soldier were wounded.
Gunfire came from a building under construction. It's near a military research center. What happened resembled Euromaidan sniper killings.
Fascist thugs bore full responsibility. Kiev putschists apparently target Crimea. Expect similar incidents to follow. More on what happened below.
On Monday, Putin endorsed Crimean independence. He did so by decree. On Tuesday, he signed the Crimean reunification treaty.
Expect overwhelming State Duma and Federation Council approval. On March 19, Russia's Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin said:
"The Constitutional Court recognizes that the Treaty corresponds to the Russian Constitution."
Crimeans are going home. Washington and rogue EU partners responded as expected.
Slap-on-the-wrist sanctions were imposed. Russian and Crimean officials were targeted. So was Ukraine's legitimate president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced Western sanctions. He called them "unacceptable." A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:
Republic of Crimea "residents made their democratic choice in line with the international law and the UN charter, which Russia accepts and respects."
"The sanctions introduced by the United States and the European Union are unacceptable and will not remain without consequences."
White House press secretary Jay Carney warned "(m)ore (are) coming." He left unexplained what's intended.
Daily Beast contributor Josh Rogan suggested Russia intends sanctioning high-profile US senators, congressmen and administration officials.
Perhaps Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is targeted. She's a neocon hardliner.
She was Obama's point person in charge of ousting democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych. She helped replace him with illegitimate fascist, ultranationalist putschist governance.
Vice President Joe Biden wrongfully accused Russia of a "brazen military incursion." None whatever occurred.
Washington may deploy regional ground forces. Other NATO members may add theirs.
Illegitimate putschist leaders include president Oleksandr Turchynov and prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. They issued a joint statement, saying:
"The Crimean issue…switches from a political to a military stage due to the Russian military."
Days earlier, Kiev mobilized for war. Turchyov ordered full mobilization of Ukrainian armed forces. He ludicrously warned of "potential (Russian) aggression."
He moved troops close to Russia's border. He's recruiting radicalized National Guard forces. He "invite(d) everyone who sees rising for the defense of homeland as an honor" to join.
He plans manpower strength up to 60,000. On March 17, Stars and Stripes headlined "NATO, Ukrainian minister talk closer ties in wake of Crimea referendum."
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "NATO will forge closer ties with Ukraine and intensify efforts to help build up the country's military…"
A NATO news release added: "The secretary-general reiterated the alliance's firm commitment to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, and the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine's frontiers."
Expect Washington's dirty hands controlling things. John Kerry threatened Russia.
He warned against intervening in eastern Ukraine. Doing so would be "as egregious as any step I can think of," he said.
He barely stopped short of threatening war. Whether Washington intends risking it remains to be seen.
Russian nationals in Ukraine aren't safe. Expect incidents like what happened to Aleksandr Panteleymonov to repeat.
He's National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU) acting CEO. At least he was. Kiev putschist elements stormed his office. Neo-Nazi Svoboda party members were involved. Perhaps Right Sector extremists.
Panteleymonov was beaten. Putschists accused him of airing anti-Ukrainian programming. They forced his resignation.
He's lucky he wasn't killed. He was viciously assaulted. "Write your resignation," he was told. "Sit down. I told you, sit down."
"You are feating in my Ukraine…Here is a paper (and) pen. Write the resignation now quickly, you animal…You are Moskal garbage." It's a Ukrainian ethnic Russian slur.
Panteleymonov said he's Ukrainian, not Russian. Putschists called him "sh.t!"
"You campaigned for Moscow," they said. "You lied to Ukrainians for our money. NTU is Ukraine's largest public broadcaster.
Putschists want their message alone aired. They want dissenting views silenced. Independent voices are prohibited.
So are Russian TV channels. RT International said its former satellite service provider was "threatened by unknown gunmen."
Days earlier, radicalized masked elements stormed a Kiev city council meeting. They came armed with bats and hammers.
They forced targeted members to resign. It bears repeating. Expect lots more disturbing incidents to follow.
Democratic governance is gone. Police state lawlessness replaced it. Dissenters are especially endangered.
So are Russian nationals. Whether Putin intends to protect them if necessary remains to be seen.
Tuesday's Simferopol sniper killings resemble commonplace false flag provocations. Crimea's Interior Ministry said:
"According to preliminary reports, the shots were fired from one place in two directions."
"Someone fired from the window of a partially constructed building in the immediate vicinity of a military installation at self-defence unit soldiers checking up on a report that armed people had entered that building."
"The other shots were fired at the nearby Ukrainian military installation."
"The shooting was carried out from the same spot in two directions: against the self-defense fighters who were checking a warning about the presence of armed people in an uncompleted building, and in the direction of Ukrainian military base located nearby."
"As a result, one fighter has been killed and yet another injured. A man from the nearby Ukrainian military base has also sustained an injury. The shooting in both directions was carried out from the same spot."
The ministry suggested a well-planned provocation. Crimean self-defense forces were warned about armed militants in a partially inhabited building near Kubanskaya Street.
Sniper fire began during their investigation. Doing so wasn't accidental. It was on the same day Vladimir Putin signed the Crimean Reunification Treaty. He did so saying:
"I am submitting and asking the Federal Assembly to consider a constitutional bill on accepting two new constituent regions as part of the Russian Federation - the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol."
Crimea "has always been and it will remain Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar."
RT International said one sniper was detained. Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov compared what happened to Euromaidan shootings.
"At the moment two people are dead as a result of a provocation, a sabotage," he said.
"The situation allows me to conclude that the same techniques that were used at Maidan are being used now because most likely one attacker fired at both sides - one Ukrainian serviceman and one man from the self-defense forces of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea were killed."
"The location of the sniper was identified," he added. Crimea's Interior Ministry called him a 17-year-old Lvov resident.
According to RT, "Ukrainian servicemen (said) unknown groups tried to break into several military bases" the previous night.
Crimean self-defense forces prevented them. RT producer Lida Vasilevskaya tweeted: "Guys from self-defense told me today that they were afraid of provocations."
It bears repeating. Expect lots more like them ahead. Maybe much more provocative. For sure wrongfully blamed on Russia and Crimean authorities.
Media scoundrels reported Simferopol shootings their way. As expected, misinformation followed.
The putschist-controlled Ukrainian News Agency headlined "Ukrainian Soldier Killed During Storming Of Photogrammetric Center In Simferopol," saying:
"A Ukrainian soldier has been killed during the storming by Russian troops and members of the 'Crimean self-defense' of the photogrammetric center of the central military topographic and navigation department of the Main Administration of Operational Provision of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Simferopol."
"The head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's Crimean media center, Vladyslav Selezniov, wrote on his Facebook page:"
"One person was killed during the storming of the (center). This Ukrainian soldier was serving on the territory of the unit's park, he said."
"He also said another wounded person, a captain, was sent to the emergency hospital of Simferopol. The invaders told Ukrainian officers that they were arrested and took away their papers."
"As Ukrainian News earlier reported, unidentified gunmen presumed to be members of the Russian military and the 'Crimean self-defense' stormed the military base at about 15:00."
The Wall Street Journal regurgitated the Big Lie. It cited Ukraine's putschist defense ministry doing so. It headlined "Defiant Russia Claims Crimea As Violence Flares in Region.
It claimed "(t)he Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded in a shootout as their office in the Crimean capital of Simferopol was stormed by well-armed commandos wearing Russian uniforms that had been stripped of identifying insignia."
Qatar-controlled Al Jazeera propaganda headlined "Ukrainian serviceman killed in Crimea." It cited Kiev's illegitimate defense ministry.
It's reporter Nick Schifrin lied saying: "We saw what appeared to be Russian snipers leaving positions from a separate building that overlooks the" targeted area.
"A statement from the Ukrainian defence ministry said a decision had now been taken by the commander-in-chief and the acting defence minister to allow Ukrainian troops to use force in self defence."
On March 18, UK-controlled BBC propaganda reported its own version. It headlined "Ukraine officer 'killed in attack on Crimea base," saying:
"An (unidentified) eyewitness told the BBC that armed men arrived in two unmarked vehicles, storming the base in Simferopol and firing automatic weapons."
"The Ukrainian government said a junior officer who was on duty in a park inside the base had been killed and another officer injured."
"A third serviceman had leg and head injuries after being beaten with iron bars, it said."
"Defence ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told Reuters the attack was by 'unknown forces, fully equipped and their faces covered.' "
"The Ukrainians had their IDs, weapons and money confiscated, he said."
Yatsenyuk called "an emergency meeting." He barely stopped short of declaring war.
He said "Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen and that is a war crime."
Almost by afterthought, BBC added:
"Reports from the Crimean news agency, Kryminform, said a pro-Russia defence force member had been shot dead."
"Crimean police later said both Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces had been fired on from a single location and that one Ukrainian was killed and one injured, and one pro-Russian was killed and one injured."
BBC's inflammatory headline mattered most. So did what immediately followed. Propaganda substituted for legitimate reporting.
It was repeatedly broadcast on air. Al Jazeera did the same thing. So did US cable channels.
Big Lies drown out truth. Anti-Russian propaganda rages. Hypocrisy is shameless. Scurrilous reporting substitutes.
Expect media wars to continue daily. Expect full support for illegitimate Kiev putschists. Expect Crimean democracy denounced.
Expect intense nonstop Russia bashing. Expect more false flag provocations. Perhaps something major.
Expect potential East/West confrontation. Expect what hopefully won't happen.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.