Need To Know
A waiting game. In the tense lead up to Sunday's referendum in Crimea, Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovych said he was still the country's commander-in-chief.
"As soon as the circumstances allow — and I am sure there is not long to wait — I will without doubt return to Kyiv," Yanukovych said, calling the interim government in Ukraine a "band of ultra-nationalists and neo-fascists."
He also called the presidential elections planned for May "absolutely illegitimate and illegal."
Yanukovych blamed the current crisis in Crimea — over whether it should stay in Ukraine or secede and join Russia — on the pro-Western authorities who took power in Kyiv.
Meanwhile, the United States and European diplomats continued their combination of threats and cajoling in dealing with Moscow's intervention in Ukraine. We'll be following the events as they unfold on our live blog.
Want To Know
We only prevent provocations... with guns. Before the Crimean crisis started, Aleksey Borsuk was a freelance journalist.
Now, he is the leader of the People’s Liberation Movement (PLM), one of about a dozen volunteer “self-defense” forces that have formed in Sevastopol, Crimea’s largest city, purportedly protecting the region from outside attack.
The self-defense groups are diverse in ideology; some are communists, some are Cossacks, some are veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Borsuk said.
The PLM differentiates itself by its specific stance against the United States and the dollar as an international reserve currency.
Asked about attacks on journalists and pro-Ukrainian activists, Borsuk said: “We don’t beat anyone, we don’t provoke. We prevent provocations."
Now, the group is training a force of men with gun permits to respond to "provocations" — with deadly force if needed.
Turkey's silence on Ukraine. When it comes to the crisis in Crimea, the autonomous republic Russia invaded on February 24, Turkey is in an unusual position. On one hand, it has a $35 billion trade partnership with Russia, the ear of Vladimir Putin, and custodianship of the Turkish Straits, through which millions of barrels of Russian oil and gas are shipped every day.
On the other, it’s been a member of NATO for 62 years and holds deep historic and cultural ties to 250,000 Crimean Tatars likely to get caught in the crossfire if the situation escalates.
So why is Turkey not playing a bigger role in the current diplomatic standoff?
“Turkey needs Russian gas, Russian tourists. And there is a historical fear concerning Russia and USSR; since the time of the Ottomans, Turks are hesitant to enter in conflict with Russia,” said Bayram Balci of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Strange But True
SXSW: The future's playground. The possibilities seem endless at South by Southwest this year. Nintendo and Pennzoil partnered to create a real, live go-cart track that integrates driving and virtual gaming.
Part of the 'Game of Thrones: The Exhibition' has a virtual reality demo that claims to be 4D... three dimensions and tactile sensations that simulate the experience of scaling the Night Watch-defended Wall of Westeros.
Then there's the cooking computer, Watson.
(Pretty soon, humans will be floating on those airborne pods as seen in Wall-E, and everything worth doing will be done by computers. Thanks, technology!)
(Unless you become one of the unlucky few to be zapped with 80,000 volts from a law enforcement taser drone. It's called CUPID, guys. It doesn't mess around.)