Latest Development (March 16, 03:30 GMT):
According to different German news sources, some secondary NATO websites should have been disabled by hacker activity. All sources are mentioning a possible relationship with the Crimean referendum which is to begin only some hours later. [Main Source: German N-TV news] => Related NATO paper: NATO and Cyber Defence.
The New York Times (March 16, European edition):
Russia Seizes Gas Plant Near Crimea Border, Ukraine Says => illustrated article
Crimean News Agency QHA (March 17):
- Turnout of votes 64% by 15:00 on day of referendum (i.e. March 16).
- 93% of Crimeans voted for Russia.
- 90% of Crimean Tatars didn't take part in referendum.
- Dead body of a Crimean Tatar with signs of torture found in Crimea.
- Ukrainian soldier to swear an oath to Crimea or leave.
- Referendum results to be adopted on March 17.
- Crimean authorities to introduce Russian ruble in April.
- Russia's Putin tells Germany's Merkel referendum in Crimea is legal.
The Muslimic and Turkish speaking minority of Tatars in the
[Autonomous] Republic of Crimea [picture from archives].
زعيم مسلمي القرم: تدخلوا قبل وقوع المجازر
Crimea's Muslimic leader: [Intervention] prior to the occurrence of massacres.
طالب زعيم التتار المسلمين في القرم مصطفى جميليف اليوم الخميس حلف شمال الاطلسي الناتو بالتدخل "قبل وقوع مجزرة"، داعيا أبناء الأقلية لمقاطعة الاستفتاء المقرر الأحد القادم في شبه الجزيرة الأوكرانية حول انضمامها إلى روسيا.ـ
Today, Thursday [i.e. March 13], the leader of Crimea's Muslimic Tatars, Musdafa Djamilif, called for the North Atlantic Pact NATO to intervene "prior to the occurrence of massacres" [while inviting] the descendants of [that] minority to boycott the referendum [which is] to be held next Sunday on the Ukrainian peninsula on the issue of its affiliation to Russia.
وقال جميليف في اتصال هاتفي مع وكالة فرانس برس من بروكسل "ندعو تتار القرم لمقاطعة الاستفتاء"، مضيفا "طالما ان الامم المتحدة لن توافق أبدا، بسبب الفيتو الروسي في مجلس الأمن الدولي، على إرسال قوات حفظ سلام دولية إلى القرم، فإن حلف شمال الأطلسي عليه أن يتدخل كما فعل في كوسوفو (...) قبل وقوع مجزرة في القرم".ـ
In a telephone call with the [news] agency France-Press in Brussels, Djamilif said: " We are calling the Crimean Tatars to boycott the referendum ", [and he added:] " Since the United Nations will never agree to a deployment of international peace-keeping forces in Crimea because of Russia's veto in the international Security Council, [what] if the North Atlantic Pact therefore intervenes like it did in Kosovo (...) before it comes to a massacre in Crimea. "
And Djamilif added being decided to meet with the secretary general of the North Atlantic Pact, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
[Source: Network of Al-Arabiya TV العربية نت on March 14, 2014]
Editor's Note: The Tatar minority comprises about 12-15% of the Crimean peninsula's population.
The following excerpt belongs to an article on the problem of self-rule in Crimea, Kosovo and other countries and was published by Peter Baker, staff-writer for The New York Times, on March 8, 2014. I consider this to be a " must have read ".
" The Kosovars’ secession from Serbia in 1999 drove a deep wedge between the United States and Russia that soured relations for years. Washington supported Kosovo’s bid for independence, culminating in 2008, while Moscow saw it as an infringement of Serbia’s sovereignty.
Now 15 years later, the former Cold War rivals again find themselves at odds, but this time they have effectively switched sides: Russia loudly proclaims Crimea’s right to break off from Ukraine while the United States calls it illegitimate. The showdown in Ukraine has revived a centuries-old debate over the right of self-determination versus the territorial integrity of nation-states. "
" No Right to Finance Bandits "
[quoting Ukraine's ousted
president V. Yanukóvich]
The above article from the Spanish website of Russia's state-run TV Russia Today RT was published on March 13 and deals with Russia's interest to avoid any disturbances of its gas deliveries to the Ukraine and other countries.
On the occasion of his meeting with German vice-chancellor and minister for economy and energy, Sigmar Gabriel, the president of Russia's energy giant Gazprom, Alexéi Miller, is quoted with the following words:
" Even though we have all rights from the valid contract to request prepayment, we refrain from doing so because we don't want to promote an economic collapse of Ukraine. Neither do we want the appearance of risks for Russian gas delivery to Europe. "