Simferopol, Ukraine – In the Crimean capital, an uneasy calm pervades much of the city, where Russian troops are positioned along some of the main streets and local residents attempt to carry on with their daily lives.
Support for the Russian “invasion” appears widespread in the city, with Russian flags on display throughout the capital. There are also small but daily rallies held in a show of support for the Russian presence and as a declaration for disdain for the protesters in Kiev and for Ukraine’s new government.
Few people, however, are under the impression that the relative calm will remain and fears of violence are widespread as Russia strengthens its hold on the peninsula. But despite the often fiery rhetoric from both sides, many residents find it hard to envision a war breaking out.
Only a few possible flashpoints remain. At the bases where Ukrainian forces are refusing to stand down, Russian troops, to date, have shown few signs of doing anything more than surrounding the area. For there to be a war, there needs to be an enemy to fight, and so far any signs of one remains largely illusive.
What is clear, however, is Russia’s military presence in Simferopol. Soldiers and “self defence” forces stand guard in the city’s centre.