Allen B. West

Putin and state-sponsored terrorism?

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Last Friday, Time reported that Russian troops attempted to take a Ukrainian military base by storm on the Crimean peninsula by ramming the gates with a truck and rushing inside.

According to the report, within two hours, the Russian forces managed to seize part of the Ukrainian air force base at the edge of Sevastopol. After failed negotiations for the surrender of the entire base, the Russian troops pulled back before midnight. Armed pro-Russian paramilitaries in civilian clothing were still in the area, the spokesman said, but the two Russian military trucks that had rammed the gate of the A-2355 base outside Sevastopol were gone, as were the several dozen Russian troops involved. “Now only the radicals are left,” he said, referring to the pro-Russian militants who call themselves “self-defense forces” on the Crimean peninsula.

Now, let me get this straight, Vladimir Putin says there are no Russian troops in the Crimea. But two Russian military trucks were used in this attack against a sovereign nation’s military base. Imagine if the Mexican Army had troops come across the border and tried to seize Ft. Bliss Texas.

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However, what is most interesting is “armed pro-Russian militants” are working in coordination with the Russian military. Sounds to me like Putin is conducting state-sponsored terrorist activities. As well, according to the Geneva Convention, all combat belligerents are supposed to wear uniforms and display their national markings. So, the real question: is Vladimir Putin in violation of the Geneva Convention and should Russia be considered for listing as a state sponsor of terrorism? After all, we call Islamic militants terrorists don’t we, or are these armed pro-Russian paramilitaries extremists?

I am waiting to hear what President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Hagel have to say on the matter. Sounds like crickets.

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