The Ukrainian government has adopted an emergency military buildup and called up reservists as part of preparations for a war, one day after Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
Ukraine’s parliament agreed to earmark USD 600 million from the country’s budget for the purchase of weapons, reparation of military hardware and improvement of training over the coming three months.
Moreover, Ukraine’s 40,000 reservists have been called up. Some of the reservists are to be deployed in the newly established National Guard in the coming days and weeks.
The National Guard is tasked with protecting “strategic sites” and helping quell sporadic protests in the eastern cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk.
A former Ukrainian defense minister expressed regret that his country lost Crimea.
“I can tell you that had we kept them, Russia would never have entered Crimea,” said Anatoliy Hrytsenko, who was defense minister from 2005 to 2007.
He called on the United States and European governments to deploy warships and aircraft to the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree formally recognizing Crimea as a sovereign state, following the peninsula’s declaration of independence.
The decree is said to be a first step towards Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation.
On Sunday, 96.8 percent of Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia.
The move sparked angry reactions from Washington and the EU, both imposing punitive measures against a number of Russian officials as well as authorities in Crimea.
Moscow has slammed the move with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov describing the sanctions as “an unbalanced approach absolutely ignoring reality.”