* President Obama is “standing up for principle” and by the Ukrainian people, though “obviously” there is no military option on the table.
* According to the Ukrainian ministry of defense, 3 civilians of unknown origin were prevented from entering an air force facility in Melitopol, in the Zaporizhia oblast in southeastern Ukraine.
* After its courageous intervention to save Crimeans from Ukrainian oppression, Russia is now expressing concern for its ethnic minority similarly threatened in Estonia. Maybe another round of cyberattacks [PDF] will keep the oppressors in line?
* Peace-loving Russia would really like to support nuclear talks with Iran, but refusal from the Americans and Europeans to recognize its reunification with Crimea may force the Kremlin to reconsider.
* The Economist underlines how the West should stop thinking Russia is looking at events through the same lens:
“A game-theory approach to the Ukraine conflict needs to recognise that America, the EU and Russia are not quite symmetrical players who understand the terms “winning” and “losing” in the same fashion. Significantly, America and Russia don’t seem to attach the same value to conflict avoidance. […] The West might have preferred to play a non-zero-sum, multiplayer game with Mr Putin, but if he keeps playing [two-person zero-sum] chess, we will eventually have to start playing too.”
State of Ukrainian Deliveries
* Earlier this month an almost-finished Zurb hovercraft was towed out of the Feodosiya shipyard in Crimea, for delivery to China, where the next 2 ships (out of a total of 4) will be built.
* The Croatian ministry of defense announced they expect to soon get back their MiGs from repairs in Ukraine.
* The Indonesian Navy ordered the first 5 of 50 BTR-4 personnel carriers from Ukraine’s Spectechnoexport, but the plant is in Kharkiv, just 25 miles of the Russian border. Two Russian demonstrators died there last week in clashes with Ukrainians, as a pro-Russian crowd was making demands similar to those staged in Crimea.
Back in Black
* Finmeccanica announced 2013 sales down 2.9% to 16 billion euros ($22B), and a backlog down 4.9% to 42.7B euros ($58.8B). However bookings rebounded by 10.7% – a 1.1 book-to-bill ratio – and the firm made a small profit after losses of 792M euros in 2012. Annual report [PDF].
Just Like the Best in Class
* Navies have been copying a lot of civilian innovations over the past 20 years. Looks like Norway’s DNV GL has come up with another one worth watching, by offering a service aimed at helping shipyards reduce the sometimes significant fuel consumption differences between ships of the same class.
Next Time, Deal with Tanker Hijackers Yourselves
* A small team of US Army soldiers is going to help train Libyan infantry troops, according to the AP.
Pentagon Maintains (Some) JSF Withholdings
* Bloomberg reports that the Pentagon is still withholding “as much as $231M” from Lockheed Martin over pending modifications to F-35s the company already delivered.
* Lockheed Martin touts the F-35’s ease of use, with a recent STOVL formation flight (as in, 2 aircraft) shown in the video below: