According to Russian news site flot.com, Russian military ships carrying soldiers have arrived on Ukraine’s Crimean coast in what some are claiming could be the early signs of a Russian coup in the hotly disputed autonomous region of the Crimea.
Russia’s large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov has arrived near the Russia Black Sea Fleet's base at Sevastopol, which Russia has leased from Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The ship is reported to be carrying as many as 200 soldiers and has joined four additional ship carrying an unknown amount of Special Forces troops. Flot.com also reported over the weekend that personnel from the 45th Airborne Special Forces unit and additional divisions had been airlifted into Anapa, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coastline. In addition, it is believed that Russia's Sevastopol base contains as many as 26,000 troops already, according to the German Institute for International And Security Affairs.
It remains to be seen if a weakened Ukraine in the midst of revolution can respond to the Russian military developments or if NATO will take the United States' line by telling Russia to stay clear of a region it has long considered it own.
However, a Russian invasion of the Crimea seems to be popular with the largely Russian population of the Crimea after a flurry of pro-Russian protests have called for Russian intervention.
Aside from the Crimea, there are concerns from the United States and European governments that Russia could attempt a much larger intervention in Kiev and restore a Russian-friendly government.