The Ukrainian conflict has come and gone. Now everyone is wondering what the hell it was. We are still following the development of this case. It seems that from now on Crimea, the former gift of the Russians, is part of Russia again.
Russian President signs laws completing annexation of Crimea; Russia investors take fright at U.S. decision to slap further sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia’s annexation of Crimea on Friday, as investors took fright at a U.S. decision to slap sanctions on his inner circle of money men and security officials.
European Union leaders – who like Obama insist Crimea is still part of Ukraine – expressed their determination to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian energy, and signed a political deal with the Kiev leadership that took over after Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich’s ouster last month.
Russia’s foreign ministry said Moscow has the right to a tit-for-tat response to the second wave of sanctions imposed by the EU over its annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
The EU imposed an new set of sanctions on Friday, adding 12 Russians and Crimeans to a list of people targeted by EU asset freezes and travel bans. There are now 33 on the list.
In a separate statement, the ministry said Moscow hoped the decision to send monitors to Ukraine would help resolve what it called an “internal Ukrainian crisis”.
Russian state media said Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine and join Russia on Sunday, as Kiev accused Moscow of pouring forces into the peninsula and warned separatist leaders “the ground will burn under their feet”.
With over half the votes counted, 95.5 percent had chosen the option of annexation by Moscow.
Western powers and leaders in Kiev denounced it as a sham.
“This referendum is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution,” a White House spokesman said. “The international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.”
In Kiev, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk threatened dire consequences for the Crimean politicians who had called the vote, saying separatist “ringleaders” wanted to destroy Ukrainian independence “under the cover of Russian troops”.
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