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!

JMOP

So true Contago!

Darwin's choice

"America needs to take care of Americans"

Absolutely correct!!!!

When is obama going to get started on that?

Illegals aren't Americans, by the way....

rbenn

Obamas next move is too unfriend Putin on facebook! that will show em

JMOP

LMAO! Now that's funny rbenn!

He'll still follow him on twitter though.

rbenn

I did hear they share recipes on pintrest, that's when moochelle allows him to

Truth2u

BILL CLINTON along with Britain signed The Budapest Memorandum, which stated that if Russia crossed the boarders into the Ukraine the USA, Britain and NATO would send in troops.

So either Clinton is a liar, Obama is a liar and lacks leadership, or OUR WORD AS A NATION CAN'T BE TRUSTED.

NO Thanks to you liberals for destroying our nation by voting in a CLOWN. Hillary should be asked about this treaty, after she answers the charges for her Benghazi crimes.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/...

rbenn

Great post!! Lets see how the liberal asshats try to spin this one!!

Contango

"We seriously lack Leadership & Statesmanship"

"Obama is demonizing Putin and this makes no sense for it appears to be more of an excuse for the lack of a policy that leaves us in a very scary place for there is no solution of last resort that has a defined end game."

http://armstrongeconomics.com/20...

This author is an American who moved his business to Switzerland.

He accurately predicted that Putin would make a move on Ukraine AFTER the Winter Olympics.

BTW: Now that Pres. Obama has more than adequately shown his geo-political weakness, watch for China to make some moves.

The sh*t is seriously starting to unravel.

deertracker

How many of you are willing to go fight for Ukraine?

Contango

Re: "How many,"

Irrelevant nonsense, since the U.S. is a signatory to the "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances"

So why is VP Biden in Poland?

Babo

Yes, but the "Treaty" is a Diplomatic Agreement and in all likelihood not enforceable under International Law. That said, one would think we have to honor our diplomatic agreements to have any credibility.

Contango

Re: "credibility."

Pres. Obama and "credibility"? There's an oxymoron. lol

Pres. Obama has given new life to a quote from Pres. Reagan:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

Pres. Obama to Ukraine: If you like your country you can keep it. (Subject to change without notice.)

Babo

Yes, that was my point. We have no credibility as a nation and we will not honor this agreement. Historically we've always avoided Eastern Europe.

JudgeMeNot

0-bama is too chicken to fight a country that can fight back.

deertracker

You must be a war vet?

JudgeMeNot

I realized you are just a blathering idiot, looking for attention.

deertracker

COWARD!!!!!!!

Contango

To quote you 'turd:

"What are YOU going to do? NOTHING but hide behind your computer and criticize."

The Big Dog's back

"What are YOU going to do? NOTHING but hide behind your computer and criticize." I looked this up and kept coming across pooh's name.

Contango

Re: "What,"

So do you stand firm with Obie, piddles?

The Big Dog's back

Do you stand firm with Putin? You're probably sitting there with your KGB garb on.

Contango

Re: "KGB,"

Now your just spoutin' gibberish. You're the one that loves authoritarian socialism.

Do you need to go outside, lil' piddles?

deertracker

I still don't see any volunteers!

Contango

Re: "I still don't see any volunteers!"

Imbecilic off-topic fallacy.

So if Pres. Obama commits U.S. military forces, he should ride at the head of his troops?

deertracker

No, you should.

JudgeMeNot

The best 0-bama will do is make a speech or two, pretend to make threats, and then go golfing.

deertracker

What are YOU going to do? NOTHING but hide behind your computer and criticize.

Contango

Re: "hide behind your computer and criticize."

Just like you? lol

deertracker

No, just like YOU!

JudgeMeNot

Emotional gibberish.

deertracker

COWARDS!!!!!!!

Contango

To quote you 'turd:

"What are YOU going to do? NOTHING but hide behind your computer and criticize."

The Big Dog's back

To much green beer last night pooh?

Contango

Re: "To much,"

So do you stand firm with Obie, piddles?

Contango

Re: "No, you should."

Yet, more lunacy from the mentally juvenile master.

deertracker

You are the king of lunacy pooh.

Contango

Re: "You,"

Nah nah boo boo. Have a nice day 'turd.

deertracker

Waiting!!!!!! Any sign ups? You haters are the ones with ZERO credibility. Scared pooh? You talk a good game but where's the walk? You are now free to crawl back into your half gallon of Kessler's!

Contango

Re: "Waiting"

Typical rantings of a moronic Obamabot.

deertracker

Waiting pooh!

Contango

Re: "Waiting,"

Try some laxatives.

deertracker

Is that the best you got pooh?

JudgeMeNot

LOL.

JudgeMeNot

The Russians would destroy us in hours thanks to 0-bamas failures.

deertracker

Scared?????

rbenn

have you ever served deerpecker? If not then you need to stfu, and yes I did serve and proud of it.And would do it again if needed

deertracker

Washing dishes does not count. I will NEVER serve. Ever! Serve all you want. We should only go to war to defend ourselves.

rbenn

Well now, we see what kinda a person you are now. Not only a bigmouth you are also nothing but a chicken sh&%. Sure glad not everyone in this country isn't like you. Have a nice day and enjoy that ebt card and obamaphone and enjoy the freedoms that veterans gave u

JudgeMeNot

twacker is your typical low-info voter who thought 0-bama was a "celebrity".

wasthere

Then don't say NEVER!!

deertracker

NEVER!

JudgeMeNot

twacker, Stop, really, I can't stop laughing. You are too funny!

Babo

Not just Obama's failures but our Nation's failures of character and discipline. Eastern Europeans are a lot tougher, smarter and more disciplined than today's Americans

The Big Dog's back

The only failures I see are the right wingnuts. They fail as human beings.

Contango

Re: "They fail,"

So do you stand firm with Obie, piddles?

Darwin's choice

From the resident douchebag/obamabot!

You need wormed again?

SamAdams

In other words, Romney was right. Russia IS our largest geopolitical foe! (In reluctant fairness, Obama thought terrorism was the biggest threat, and it is probably the worst where our own soil is concerned. It also most often occurs with fewer obvious warnings. But terrorism isn't limited by geography but by belief, nor by politics but by zealotry.)

As far as the legality of Crimean secession goes, there's an interesting column from a few days ago in The Economist. You can read it at

http://tinyurl.com/p6de8m4

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I wonder what sanctions were placed on West Virginia when it split off in 1863?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes...

Or in today's time, the proposition to break up unwieldy California into six states:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/trav...

Go figure that when people feel they are underrepresented in/by their governments that they choose to take action. It's happening across the nation, too, in terms of an Article V "Convention of States". We'll get done as states what Congress never will because of how combative, petty, blind, and overburdened it has become. It feels more like they are representing Washington D.C. to us rather than us to it, doesn't it?

http://conventionofstates.com/

The Big Dog's back

You right wingnuts just hate it, hate it when there's a Dem in the White House.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You got me. That's exactly what this is about. I am a petty, shallow person who can't get over that fact. All of my thoughts and reasons are based solely on the fact that a Democrat is in the White House.

I actually hold no passions, opinions, nor desire to pursue facts (or research history to learn its lessons) because of the blinding bias you pointed out. Everything I have ever posted is a part of the conspiracy against the Democrat in the White House with the only goal to remove him and replace him with a Republican because Republicans are the best party.

They are faultless, perfect. Everyone should be a Republican. Only old, white Republican men should be in the White House. The fact that isn't occurring me has me upset beyond measure.

grumpy

Re: "I actually hold no passions, opinions, nor desire to pursue facts"

WRONG! your passionate desire is your racism for the President that was overwhelmingly voted into office twice. While you secretly agree with all his policies and positions you just can't stand the FACT that he is a fine upstanding BLACK man who is doing God's work, and has fixed the economy and his signature healthcare plan is exceeding expectations of everyone. You are a racist as is everyone who doesn't back this wonderful man. You have no basis or right to disagree with Him.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thank you for reminding me. I forgot how racist I actually am. Because I am white it is the only explanation at why I have a difference of opinion with our President. When we add that he is a Democrat I just can't seem to function properly. Race and party affiliation are my only foundation for thinking.

I never realized how narrow-minded I was until someone else told me who I am and expected me to not live another way. Life is easier when others dictate how I should think and live.

grumpy

Just remember you are an old, fat, white, racist, teapublican't. It is hard to keep it all straight... oops there is another adjective we both forgot, we are also homophobic and hate those who marry their own sex or get operations to change said gender. Dman, it is hard to keep it all in mind what some think everyone who doesn;'t march in lock step with them think of us. My bad.

Now I forgot religious zealot, I hope we are getting to the end of the list as it will be hard to remember all of the things we must be when we don't agree with policies of this president.

Don't forget we also hate clean air and water. and puppy dogs and kittens... women and children...

The Big Dog's back

That almost covers it pooh. I have a few more to throw in if you want.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

We hate the elderly, too. I think a commercial told me I want to push my wheelchair-bound grandmother literally off a cliff. As in I wish to murder old people that I both know and don't.

But all these reminders are good. I'll have to start kicking out all the racial minorities, non-Christians, gays (or those who don't care about sexual preference), girls, poor kids, abused kids, those who may be on the Autism spectrum, and...I dunno. I'll just change the rules as I go.

I bet that won't affect my business at all so I'll live my life fully expectant to maximize my potential as a human being surrounded by nothing but like-minded yuppie WASPs who think as I do, vote as I do, pray as I do and never challenge me to think or be a more understanding person.

grumpy

It is terrible to be close minded and hate those who don't think as piddles and his "party" think, after all they are open minded and accept all. (as long as you are just like them in thoughts and deeds and believe what their "party" tells them))

FSM

War mongers,

Here are your choices.
1) jump on a plane, grab a gun, go fight the Russians over this.
2) complain, while you do nothing
3) shut up

You are too scared to do #1(lets send other people and other's kids right?), so you do #2, while we wish you would do #3

Contango

Re: "while we wish you would do #3"

Who is "we"?

Define "we."

KURTje

FSM you are 100%.

Contango

A new development:

"Moldova's Trans-Dniester region pleads to join Russia"

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-eu...

Europe is far too dependent upon Russia for energy.

IMO, Pres. Obama needs to OK the Keystone XL pipeline, allow the production of LNG facilities and lift the restrictions on oil and nat gas exports.

These may be long-term solutions, but they will send an important message.

Peninsula Pundit

It sure will:
'We've sold our souls completely to Big Oil and will ruin our economy, environment and health to our overlords."
All the same, a message I will fight to my last breath.

KURTje

Tertiary. - - - - - - errrrrrrrrrrrr