The Russian embassy in London has warned the "British side should mind its language" following a tweet yesterday by the UK embassy in Moscow on Russia's annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine.

In remarks he gave in Washington, DC, on March 4, US President Barack Obama said something quite revealing about the role of international law in the Crimea crisis: "There is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law. I know President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don't think that's fooling anybody."

The only help Obama has offered the Ukrainian military are military rations, but those haven’t even been sent yet, as Russian forces begin to attack Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea. As the crisis in Crimea reaches its “military stage,” and Russian troops have begun firing on Ukrainian soldiers, American promises of limited help to the Ukrainian military have not yet been fulfilled.

Scepticism is growing online after Russian President Vladimir Putin inked a treaty to make Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia. "In our hearts we know Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia," Putin said in a speech to parliament Tuesday. 

If only America were fighting more wars, Russia would never have taken Crimea. That’s basically the argument John McCain made last Friday in The New York Times. “For five years,” he complained, “Americans have been told that ‘the tide of war is receding’.… In Afghanistan and Iraq, military decisions have appeared driven more by a desire to withdraw than to succeed.”

The outcome of the crisis in Ukraine depends to an unusual extent on the intentions of one man: Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the last few weeks, since the collapse of Viktor Yanukovych’s Russia-friendly regime and Moscow’s precipitous invasion of Crimea, analysts have been obsessed with trying to get inside the Russian leader’s mind.

If you thought all Russians were bloodthirsty lunatics hellbent on starting World War III, you would be wrong. On Saturday, tens of thousands of liberal Muscovites lined up to pass through metal detectors and march down a route lined with police and barriers in an effort to convince Putin to give peace a chance.

Forget comparisons with 1914, or to Munich in 1938. Forget the war that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s and remember, instead, Schleswig-Holstein. A century and a half ago, it was the Crimea of its day,  a piece of disputed territory that caused international turmoil and confusion.