by John Galt
March 1, 2014 22:00 ET
Published time: March 01, 2014 21:11
Edited time: March 01, 2014 23:17
Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, has reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev, and come over to Russia’s side and is returning home after taking part in NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.
There has been conflicting information on where exactly the vessel is, but a Russian senator has confirmed to Izvestia daily that the frigate defected to the Russian side.
“Ukraine’s Navy flagship the Hetman Sahaidachny has come over to our side today. It has hung out the St Andrew’s flag,” Senator Igor Morozov, a member of the committee on the international affairs, told Izvestia daily.
He said the flagship is on its way back to the Black Sea after drills in the Mediterranean. “The crew has fulfilled the order by the chief commander of Ukraine’s armed forces Viktor Yanukovich,” he added.
The move comes after the Navy command resigned Friday. Self-appointed President Aleksandr Turchinov made Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky the new Navy Chief, a statement published on the President’s website Saturday said.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine had earlier asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to let the frigate through the Bosporus strait, according to the Kiev Times. The ship captain and the head of Ukraine’s contingent in the operation, Rear Admiral Andrey Tarasov disobeyed orders from Kiev.
The Hetman Sahaidachny returns to Sevastopol, Crimea after taking part in a joint counter-piracy operation with NATO and the EU off the Horn of Africa, reported UNN on Friday, citing Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. On February 26, after crossing the Suez Canal, the ship entered the Mediterranean Sea and was expected to be in Sevastopol in early March.
If this is confirmed, this is a stunning blow to the unity projected by the interim Ukrainian government and only bolsters the case Putin was making to his forces and the Russian people on Friday and Saturday.
From NBC News earlier this evening(excerpted):
By M. Alex Johnson and Kristen Welker
The U.S. is preparing to pull out of the next summit of industrialized nations — scheduled in Russia — in protest of Russian military moves in Ukraine, the White House said Saturday after President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke directly by phone.
As tension in Ukraine threatened to boil over, Obama told Putin in the 90-minute call that he was deeply concerned over Russia’s “clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said in a statement, adding that the president warned Putin that Russia’s “standing in the international community” was at stake.
What a joke. If that is all Obama has up his sleeves then we truly have fallen from even the “Paper Tiger” status he has been projecting with each international crisis during his term.
Finally via Reuters:
(Reuters) – Canada is recalling its ambassador to Russia for consultations about the crisis in Ukraine and is freezing preparations to take part in the Group of Eight summit in Sochi, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Saturday.
Don’t worry, the Russians will survive without Tim Hortons’ or any other viable threat from America’s pacifist ally to the north. Until Russia seizes Ottawa or control of the Vancouver Canucks, the Canadian people will not give a rat’s ass about Russian expansionism.