PUTIN SEIZES CRIMEA. We are watching a Czar rise. Russian Senate authorizes Putin to use force in Ukraine. Russian troops on the move. Debate warns of “apocalyptic consequences.” Biggest test for Obama presidency.

putinUPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — The invasion of Ukraine began today.

  • Putin has seized Crimea.
  • Putin formally asked Russian parliament for authorization to use force in Ukraine. 
  • Received unanimous consent from Russian Senate. 
  • Debate warned of “apocalyptic consequences” if Kremlin doesn’t move.
  • Russian troops on the move — 6,000 troops have occupied Crimea.
  • More than 150,000 Russian troops have been mobilized and are awaiting Putin’s command.
  • Kremlin ignoring President Obama’s warning about “costs” of Kremlin intervention.
  • How far will Putin go?
  • Meanwhile, Netanyahu heads to U.S. on Sunday.
  • Expects showdown with Obama over Iran, peace process.
  • Film about the “Son of God” debuts.
  • Stirring fierce reactions for and against, even among Christians.

March comes in like a lion.

  • How will President Obama respond to Putin aggression?
  • This crisis — head to head with Putin — is the biggest test of the Obama presidency.
  • This is bigger than the crises with Libya, Egypt, and Syria confrontations combined.
  • This is a fundamental power struggle with a steadily-rising imperialist Czar, and a critical test of the NATO alliance.
  • It could define America’s role as a superpower for years to come.
  • Russia under Putin invaded Georgia in 2008.
  • Russia under Putin moving into Ukraine in 2012.
  • If there really is no penalty — if Mr. Obama’s talk of “costs” on Russia for invading neighbors proves to be just talk — what lessons will Putin draw and who else might he use military force against?
  • Remember back to March 2012 when Obama told Putin (via Medvedev) he would have “more flexibility” on contentious issues after the elections?
  • What factor will such “flexibility” play in this crisis?

Please pray:

  • for the freedom and safety of the people of Ukraine
  • for wisdom for Ukraine’s new President, a Baptist pastor
  • for freedom and peace for the people of Crimea
  • for the protection of the 200,000+ Jews in Ukraine
  • for courage and boldness for Ukraine’s Christians to love their neighbors and their enemies and preach/live the Word of God without fear
  • for wisdom for world leaders to know how best to respond to the crisis

11:00am Saturday update:

“As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested —and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine,” reports the New York Times. “The actions signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

“Within hours after receiving Mr. Putin’s request, Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, voted to approve it, after a debate that warned of the apocalyptic consequences of failing to stop a fascist threat from spreading to Russia’s borders,” the Times reported. “The lawmakers direct considerable fury at President Obama and others in the West they accused of fomenting the upheaval in Ukraine. The vote was unanimous among the 90 members present for the debate, and it was clear that forces allied with Moscow were largely in control of the disputed peninsula.”

9:15am Saturday update:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, the Kremlin said Saturday,” reports AP. “Putin said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. ‘I’m submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country,’ Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin. He sent the request to the Russian legislature’s upper house, which has to approve the motion, according to the constitution. In Crimea, the pro-Russian regional prime minister had earlier claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two Slavic neighbor countries. It was the latest escalation following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia.”

8am Saturday update:

The situation in Ukraine is moving rapidly, and there is much confusion at this hour about precisely what is happening.

Some reports say 2,000 Russian troops have crossed the border into the southern region of Crimea. Other reports say 6,000 troops.

One thing is clear: Vladmir Putin isn’t listening to President Obama warning to stay out of Ukraine.

Here are some of the latest headlines:


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