Russia’s Mission to NATO released a response on Twitter to Canada’s Mission to NATO, which on Wednesday had posted a map serving as a helpful guide for Russian soldiers who Moscow said crossed the Ukrainian border “by accident.”
Canada’s map consisted simply of “Russia” and “Not Russia.” It shaded in Crimea, the strategic peninsula Russia annexed in March, as part of “Not Russia.”
Here was Canada’s map, with an arrow pointing to Crimea:
Russia’s mission responded by posting a map that labels “RUSSIA” in Crimea. It also cuts off most of the areas in Ukraine where fighting is currently raging, and labels the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as disputed. Both regions have declared independence from Georgia, but Georgia and most of the world does not recognise their independence. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, and its troops are stationed in the regions.
Here’s Russia’s map:
The Canadian delegation’s map still included Crimea as part of Ukraine. The West has refused to recognise and has condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the U.S. and E.U. have imposed sanctions, but there’s not much more they can or want to practically do about it.
About a month after Russia annexed Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged he had sent in Russian forces to support local defence teams in the region while fighting raged. He said the troops were deployed to protect Russian-speaking citizens in Crimea.
“Of course we had our servicemen behind the self-defence units of Crimea,” Putin said during an annual televised call-in with the nation in April. “We had to make sure what is happening now in eastern Ukraine didn’t happen there.”
Ultimately, Western officials fear that a new Russian offensive could be part of an overall plan to carve out a land link between Russia and Crimea.
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