Ukraine Mobilizing for War Over Crimea

Ukraine’s military was already under strain after last weekend’s regime change, with the interim government ousting much of the military’s existing leadership in favor of new commanders they believed would be more loyal. Now, they’re mobilizing outright for war with Russia.

That’s going to be a tall order. Even if Ukraine had a huge military, which it doesn’t, its leadership is in shambles, with multiple high profile defections to Crimea, which is setting up its own military in anticipation of holding the Ukraine at bay pending a referendum on secession.

A lot of the troops in the Crimea have reportedly defected from Ukraine as well, and the Ukraine’s new navy chief, the third in 48 hours, is ordering what few ships they have left to leave the Crimea and dock at ports in the Sea of Azov.

While Russia’s deployments have been presented as “aggression” by Ukraine, the troops have so far focused on defensive positions around the Crimea, hoping to keep the Ukrainian military from stopping the breakaway region’s secession, and a potential re-accession into the Russian Federation.

Though rhetorically Ukrainian officials seem to have a lot of support in the West for portraying Russia as an invading horde, there seems to be no real prospect of Western military intervention against Russia, and with Ukraine’s own military woefully unprepared to reconquer the Crimean Peninsula, the mobilization is probably not a prelude to a march across the Isthmus of Perekop.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.