Putin declares Crimea 'sovereign and independent'

Washington and the European Union retaliate with asset freezes and travel bans
Associated Press
Mar 17, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Crimea as a "sovereign and independent country" Monday, just hours after the strategic Black Sea peninsula declared it had broken away from Ukraine.

The moves triggered the toughest Western sanctions against Russia since the Cold War — with Washington and the European Union retaliating with asset freezes and travel bans and U.S. President Barack Obama vowing to "increase the cost" if the Kremlin does not back down.

Ukraine's turmoil has become Europe's most severe security crisis in years and tensions have been high since Russian troops seized control of Crimea, which decided in a Sunday referendum to merge with Russia. Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea's independence, and Russian troops were massed near the border with Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's acting president raised tensions on the ground by calling for the activation of some 20,000 military reservists and volunteers across the country and for the mobilization of another 20,000 in the recently formed national guard.

In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, ethnic Russians applauded the Sunday referendum that overwhelmingly called for secession and for joining Russia. Masked men in body armor blocked access for most journalists to the parliament session that declared independence, but the city otherwise appeared to go about its business normally.

The U.S., EU and Ukraine's new government do not recognize the referendum held Sunday in Crimea, which was called hastily as Ukraine's political crisis deepened with the ouster of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych following months of protests and sporadic bloodshed. In addition to calling the vote itself illegal, the Obama administration said there were "massive anomalies" in balloting that returned a 97 percent "yes" vote for joining Russia.

Obama warned that Russia could face more financial punishment.

"If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions," Obama said.

One of the top Russian officials hit by sanctions mocked Obama.

"Comrade Obama, what should those who have neither accounts nor property abroad do? Have you not thought about it?" Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted. "I think the decree of the President of the United States was written by some joker."

Moscow considers the vote legitimate and Putin was to address both houses of parliament Tuesday on the Crimean situation.

In Kiev, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov vowed that Ukraine will not give up Crimea.

"We are ready for negotiations, but we will never resign ourselves to the annexation of our land," a somber-faced Turchynov said in a televised address to the nation. "We will do everything in order to avoid war and the loss of human lives. We will be doing everything to solve the conflict through diplomatic means. But the military threat to our state is real."

The Crimean referendum could also encourage rising pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine's east and lead to further divisions in this nation of 46 million.

A delegation of Crimean lawmakers was set to travel to Moscow on Monday for negotiations on how to proceed. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is almost certain — with one saying it could happen within days.

"We came back home to Mother Russia. We came back home, Russia is our home," said Nikolay Drozdenko, a resident in Sevastopol, the key Crimean port where Russia leases a naval base from Ukraine.

The Crimean parliament declared that all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula will be nationalized and become the property of the Crimean Republic. It gave no further details. Lawmakers also asked the United Nations and other nations to recognize it and began work on setting up a central bank with $30 million in support from Russia.

The United States announced sanctions against seven Russian officials, including Rogozin, Putin's close ally Valentina Matvienko who is speaker of the upper house of parliament and Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin's top ideological aides. The Treasury Department also targeted Yanukovych, Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov and two other top figures.

The EU's foreign ministers slapped travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine following Crimea's referendum. The ministers did not immediately release the names and nationalities of those targeted by the sanctions.

"We need to show solidarity with Ukraine and therefore Russia leaves us no choice," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters in Brussels before the vote. "The 'Anschluss' of Crimea cannot rest without a response from the international community."

He was referring to Nazi Germany's forceful annexation of Austria.

But markets appeared to signal that the Western sanctions lacked punch — with bourses both in Russia and Europe rising sharply on relief that they won't hit trade of business ties.

"So far the sanctions seem fairly toothless and much less severe than had been expected last week," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com. "From the market's perspective, the biggest risk was that the referendum would trigger tough sanctions against Russia that could lead to another Cold War."

Moscow, meanwhile, called on Ukraine to become a federal state as a way of resolving the polarization between Ukraine's western regions — which favor closer ties with the 28-nation EU — and its eastern areas, which have long ties to Russia.

In a statement Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine's parliament to call a constitutional assembly that could draft a new constitution to make the country federal, handing more power to its regions. It also said country should adopt a "neutral political and military status," a demand reflecting Moscow's concern about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO and possibly integrating closer politically and economically with the EU.

Russia is also pushing for Russian to become one of Ukraine's state languages alongside Ukrainian.

In Kiev, Ukraine's new government dismissed Russia's proposal Monday as unacceptable, saying it "looks like an ultimatum."

The new government in Kiev was established after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last month after three months of protests culminated in deadly clashes.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya visited NATO headquarters in Brussels to request technical equipment to deal with the secession of Crimea and the Russian incursion there.

NATO said in a statement that the alliance was determined to boost its cooperation with Ukraine, including "increased ties with Ukraine's political and military leadership."

 

Comments

OMG.LOL.WT_

"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

jibber jabber

--> Do you think the AMERICAN Indian thought the same thing?
OR how about the Palestinians?

When 97Percent vote well its there choice.

Contango

FYI: It's a Mao Zedong quotation from the "Little Red Book."

No politically correct American progressive-socialist home should be without one.

Peninsula Pundit

Here's another one from another book:
'He who comes with a sword, will die by the sword.'

Contango

From the same "book":

"He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'" (LK 22:36)

Peninsula Pundit

This verse is a mystery when reading the entire 22nd chapter.
I've looked at it and don't get what the Lord means.
The 37th verse seems to indicate that when Christ was apprehended, they would find weapons and thus number him among the 'transgressors.'
After Peter cut off the servants' ear with one of these very swords mentioned,Christ says to put it down and heals the servant.
My comment was what Alexander Nevsky said which later came to be known as the motto of Russia.From Matthew, if I recall.

deertracker

Problem is "he" aka pooh and those like him want others to die by that sword. They are too cowardly to yield their own sword.

Contango

Re: "yield their own sword,"

Off-topic nonsense.

Think9

You see what Obama made us out to be? Putin doesn't care about what Obama says. Face it, they beat us in the Olympics medal COUNT even with our gay and lesbian athletes after Obama wanted Putin to change HIS COUNTRIES LAW, and if Obama keeps selling us out and tearing us down, they'll beat us again. Look up what Franklin Graham said about Putin and his anti gay law. Doesn't matter to me much, but we are starting to look very small and puny. It's all a non funny joke any more. Government controlling the size of a coke. Whether a kid can have a Happy Meal or not. Public school junk. Yea, Hillary Clinton's "It takes a village" dream is happening now, with her in the future to finish the socialist job.

Truth2u

This picture says it all !!!
http://steynian.files.wordpress....
Ronald Regan won the cold war and we as a nation were able to develop relations with Russia for the first time since the Second World War. In less than five years Obozo destroyed this relationship and has become nothing less than a COURT JESTER! When he tries to act presidential Russia and the world laughs and makes jokes about him. No one respects Obama who BOWS to other national leaders, especially those who are butchers. Bowing is an admission of SUBMISSION, it’s a universal message that we surrender to a higher authority. We’re no longer viewed as a Super Power but a bunch of idiots who voted in a CLOWN who is running the nation like a circus.

And to those who say we have no business there; WE made a pact with NATO to protect their Sovereignty if they gave up their military. So much for Obama doing his job and keeping our PROMISE, he refused to attend the intelligence briefings and waited so long to do what was right that now there's little we can do except sit back and be laughed at.

OBAMA's WORSE THAN CARTER !

Peninsula Pundit

Here's another picture that says it all, as well.
http://www.legitgov.org/Reagan-c....
Just sayin'.

JudgeMeNot

0-bama is the worst President. There is nothing about him that shows he's a leader.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What's that distant, rattling sound a bit to the east? Anyone else hear that? It's sounds tinny, hollow, and isn't really effective as a notification.

Sarcasm aside, placing "sanctions" on eleven INDIVIDUALS is pretty dumb and our President is getting laughed at for such a weak and ineffective action. No declared red lines? Sanctions are OK here but meant "war" in Iran? Mixed signals, anyone? What the heck is our foreign policy?

So no sanctions have been placed on Putin himself, the actual leader. Nor the country broadly. But oh they are threatened! "If you don't X, we will Y" and when X isn't meant then the President or Mr. Carney will get before a mic and probably declare something like "one more chance, constant monitoring" and other meaningless words/actions.

Here, the laughs just continue to roll in. Despite the source people of any political background could appreciate the ridiculousness of this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/art...

Contango

Re: "What the heck is our foreign policy?"

Excellent question and best answered by the last line in a scene from the movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark":

Indiana: Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck.

Sallah: How?

Indiana: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go!

Contango

"If you want to know the back story of the Ukrainian revolution, The Soviet Story tells exactly what happened to Ukraine during the Soviet era - and a lot more."

"The Soviet Story":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w...

deertracker

Totally irrelevant pooh. Stay on topic.

Contango

Re: "Totally irrelevant,"

Nonsense. What's the topic, 'turd?

FSM

It is not our job to police the world.
They voted to be part of Russia and so be it.
Why should we care? Because of some leftover feelings about the cold war?
Some people just always look forward to the next war.

To you righties: Don't proclaim to want a small government, with low taxes, etc etc while also wanting a huge military and jump into every skirmish around the world.

Truth2u

We PROMISED then we would protect them if they gave up their military, we made a pact with them. We are liars if we don't defend them.

Peninsula Pundit

Way too simplistic.
I'll leave it at that.
The treaty was so the Ukraine would give up their nuke tipped cruise missiles.
Which weren't the Ukraine's in the 1st place, as the Ukraine has no cruise missile factories.

Contango

Re: "The treaty,"

So the "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances" is worthless?

Contango

Re: "To you righties:"

For one, the U.S. is the major power in NATO; not so 'simple stupid' for the 'lefties' in order to comprehend.

And we commandeered a Libyan oil tanker why?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/1...

Looks like Pres. Obama still wants to be the policeman of the world.

----------------------

Re: "Some people just always look forward to the next war."

They're known as the: CIA.

deertracker

You are so pro Russia pooh. Why?

Contango

Re: "You,"

Nonsense. The U.S. isn't in NATO, 'turd?

What are those 66K U.S. military personnel doin' in Europe then?

KURTje

What we do know is Chick with legs is photo looks hot! That catches attention for said article.

Peninsula Pundit

True dat!

deertracker

What is it that you haters expect the President to do? This is not an American problem and there is no American solution. It simply is not our business. FSM is correct. America needs to take care of Americans. Crimea voted. Case closed! I challenge any of you usual suspects to explain exactly how this affects YOU! You simply want to use this situation for a reason to attack the President knowing full well that there is Nothing he can do or should do.

Truth2u

We PROMISED them that we would protect them when they gave up their military, so I EXPECT our President to be Presidential and keep our promises to them.

deertracker

I didn't promise jack. Did you? I EXPECT you to go fight. Scared?

Contango

Re: "Nothing he can do,"

Been telling ya for yrs. that the guy is incompetent.

Good to see that you're FINALLY coming around. Congrats!

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