World News Brief, Tuesday March 11

Pro-Russian forces seal off another military airport in Crimea; search for Malaysia Airlines jet continues; North Koreans endorse government in Parliamentary elections offering just one candidate per seat; Middle East drought threatens global food prices; Nigerian healthcare hit by Boko Haram violence; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Russian Forces Gain in Crimea

Armed pro-Russian forces sealed off another military airport in Ukraine's Crimea on Sunday, tightening Moscow's grip on the peninsula ahead of a March 16 vote that may lead to Crimea leaving Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation (Reuters). President Vladimir Putin told his counterparts in Germany and the United Kingdom that he wanted a diplomatic solution to the worst standoff between Russia and the West since the Cold War, but said Crimea had a right to decide its fate (Bloomberg). Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers guarding bases in Crimea have orders not to use their weapons despite provocations by Russian troops, creating a tense stalemate where any mistake could ignite an armed conflict (Time).


"Mr. Putin misunderstands the complexities of language and ethnicity in Ukraine. Certainly, Ukraine is diverse, and language, history and culture play a role in some of its internal differences — just as they do in blue- and red-state America, in northern and southern Italy, or in the north and the south of England. The error is to believe there is a fratricidal separation between Russian and Ukrainian speakers and to assume that everyone who speaks Russian at home or voted for Mr. Yanukovych would prefer to be a citizen of Mr. Putin's Russia," writes Chrystia Freeland in the New York Times.

"It is worth remembering that, in the back-and-forth of Ukrainian governments since 1991, both the pro-Russian leaders, like Viktor Yanukovych, and the pro-Europeans, like Yulia Tymoshenko, have been brazen thieves, enriching themselves at fantastical rates. Both sides have played one half of the country against the other," writes David Remnick in the New Yorker.

"This is not Ukraine's war. Ukraine is the immediate victim, but it is by no means Putin's ultimate target. This is a blatant attack on the principles of state sovereignty, inviolability of negotiated borders, and adherence to multilateral agreements that underpin today's rule-based international system. Countering Russia's aggression is thus the responsibility of all who would uphold that system," write Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg and Bogdan Klich for Project Syndicate.


Pacific Rim

Missing Malaysia Jet Remains a Mystery

Rescue ships and helicopters are searching for signs of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared en route to Beijing more than two days ago in what Malaysia's top aviation official called an "unprecedented aviation mystery" (AP).

NORTH KOREA: North Koreans voted in elections for parliament on Sunday, with one approved candidate standing for each of the 687 districts (Telegraph).


Middle East drought threatens global food prices

Nigerian healthcare hit by Boko Haram violence

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