Of course, I can explain as much and as well as I know! I don’t usually keep up with politics fully, and I happen to live in the US, yet this interested me so I went on to do some research. (I also was a bit nervous after seeing the tumblr tag of ukraine and how people began to say things about a WWIII but don’t worry, I don’t see that as the case)
If you do not know, Ukraine is a country that is striving for an independent democracy, however, has ethnic and cultural ties with Russia, containing many pro-Russians within it. Russian military facilities also reside in Crimea. Therefore, many of the people may desire to live under Russian rule, which is one reason why this chaotic spurt in Ukraine has brought so much chaos.
As of Saturday night, Vladmir Putin desired to send troops into Ukraine, which was agreed upon by the Russian Parliament. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26399642)
Before this, another sub-unit fleet was on the territory of Crimea, yet now soldiers scattered out among the regional capital of Crimea, Simferopol. At first, it was uncertain if they were Russian soldiers, however, their Russian speaking and furthermore Russian license plates on their military vehicles/the tanks you had mentioned signified that they were.
Now here, you can imagine the chaos erupting. While some Pro-Russians approached the streets of soldiers in glee, others that desired the independence of Ukraine drew back in fear, some even simply deciding to take pictures with the soldiers (found some silly ones, actually!). I have also seen some pictures of children with families, which must have been terrifying for them, and I’ve imagined this fear myself.
All of this occurred days after the now ex-president of Ukraine was booted, Viktor F. Yanukovych, a Kremlin/Russian government ally, then fleeing to Russia afterwards. This removal of the main authority put Ukraine in a weak, easily accessible state, certainly making the Russians more eager to invade as well. This incident caused feuds between the pro-Russians of Ukraine and the ones desiring independence, injuring many in the midst, killing 88. (http://www.euronews.com/2014/03/01/ukraine-violent-clashes-in-kharkiv-leave-dozens-injured/)
In the United States, on Friday, Obama made a statement about all of this, also explaining that he had spoken with Putin of Russia and showing the United State’s favor in this quarrel—that Ukraine should have a right to carry forth it’s independence and growth as a country. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/us/politics/transcript-of-obamas-remarks-on-ukraine.html—-TRANSCRIPT) Therefore, if the Russian soldiers show that they are willing to resort to violence in of Ukraine, there will be a movement from the US. One Russian legislator was very offended by this (not exactly sure why, Obama stated it very lightly in my opinion). The UN was contacting in all of this days ago when Ukraine pleaded for assistance in their instability.
Now, moving further on, there is 6,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, many blocking the Coast Guard an airports, unknown if it was an effort to cease fleeing of the Ukrainians to take them in (imagine how terrifying this was for the people, I would be completely anxious, if I was there! :C).
Moscow, Russia, has denied at the beginning that it’s troops were sent there, later on stating that it will not intervene by force. However, within all of this, it isn’t in any of the countries best interest to form anymore tension in Ukraine. Even Obama has stated this in his transcript, and I believe that Putin is also aware of this, therefore it is in Russia and the West’s best interests to help stabilize Ukraine instead of popping in on them frighteningly, most likely in an effort to alienate them.
One large and significant treaty in the midst of this is the Budapest Memorandum, which concerns Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament and it’s secure relationship with the US, UK, and Russia. With their release of nuclear weapons, the signatories agreed to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, one reason why it was so out of hand to invade and disregard signed treaties.
Throughout all of this, there has been frequent responses and talks in the UN as well as the EU, and there will be more meetings as well.
Many are chaotically stating that Ukraine and Russia are at war, however, it was clearly stated by the UN ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, of Ukraine that they have been provoked, and are trying to avoid clashes, not at war (found here http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/security-council-meet-ukraine-saturday-22730884).
Russia, for some unknown reason, has been rather quiet in this, not outrightly stating their intervention and their standings on this, except for input and contact with the US by Putin (90 minute conversation with Obama, and such).
As of now, it is still not fully known what is to happen, yet in my opinion, I don’t see this verging anywhere near a WWWIII or war just yet. It is in everyone’s best interests, of all of these countries, to assist Ukraine and relieve the tension, and Russia knows this as well. The best thing to do is for everyone to keep calm and for government officials not to offend, as things are not going erratically between officials just yet (besides the one offended Russian legislator). No military action/violence has sprouted yet, and we will find more information on all of this soon enough!
I hope this clarified it for you and others, and remember not to be worried, Putin does not seem to be aiming towards war, and I don’t believes others are either. This is solely a quarrel Ukraine’s government standings, and its frequently taken into account that they have rights and it is appropriate to let them be.
Have a lovely day, and if I see anything else, I’d be glad to let you know! :D
UPDATE: I’ve heard around that apparently, an official of Ukraine asked Russia for help with their chaotic and currently weak government, and that could be why the troops have entered—Because they have somewhat been invited in. Crimea, also, was owned by Russia until 1954.
Oh, thank you! I have a much better handle on it now. :)