Ominous signs coming from Crimea in Ukraine as Russians are handing out Russian passports to Crimean's and it's ominous because that is exactly what happened in 2008 in the Georgian province of South Ossetia.
In the summer of 2008, Georgian villages in the territory of South Ossetia declared their independence from Georgia and Georgian troops were sent to the territory to restore order and bring the province back under its control.
Moscow, keen to bring Osettia under its own control, handed out thousands of passports to the people of South Ossetia and the day after Georgian troops arrived in the region, the Russian Armed Forces invaded Georgia, destroying its military, transportation, and economic infrastructure within and outside of the South Ossetian territory citing the necessity of defending Russian citizens living in South Ossetia from the Georgian military.
There are reports today of Russian envoys distributing Russian passports in the Crimean peninsula and fears are that Russia will once again use the 'protecting our citizens' as a pretext for an invasion and there are already reports that armed men have seized control of Simferopol airport in the Crimean capital.
As we saw in Georgia, this is the Russian play-book and it seems to be following the preliminaries to the Russian assault on Georgia.
Cool heads are required as the obvious splits in the east and west of the Ukraine means a civil war could easily become the outcome with an angry Russia in the mix.