Ukrainian PM calls Russian annexation of Crimea ‘robbery on an international scale’
By End the Lie
The Prime Minister of Ukraine called the Russian annexation of Crimea, which was made official on Tuesday, “robbery on an international scale” and warned of war.
The tensions between Ukraine and Russia have significantly increased over just the past 24 hours. Now Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said what was a political standoff is “careening toward war,” according to CNN.
Indeed, it seems there are some quite clear moves toward war. Masked gunmen killed a Ukrainian soldier, wounded another and arrested the staff of a base in Crimea, according to CNN.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry authorized their forces in Crimea to use weapons “to protect and preserve the life of Ukrainian soldiers,” the ministry said in a statement on their website.
Ukrainian President President Oleksandr Turchynov said that Putin is “mimicking the fascists of the last century” by annexing Crimea.
“The political leadership of Russia will have to answer before the whole world for crimes they are committing today in our country,” Turchynov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, maintains that the Crimean referendum was entirely above board.
In an hour-long speech before a joint session of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday, Putin argued that the vote was legitimate. He also stressed historical and cultural ties between Crimea and Russia.
“In our hearts we know Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia,” Putin said.
In his speech, Putin openly slammed the West.
“They cheated us again and again, made decisions behind our back, presenting us with completed facts,” he reportedly said. “That’s the way it was with the expansion of NATO in the east, with the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They always told us the same thing: ‘Well, this doesn’t involve you.’”
Within minutes of the speech, Putin signed a draft treaty with Crimean leaders that officially made the region part of the Russian Federation.
The international community has already spoken out against the move.
“The so-called referendum breached international law, the declaration of independence which the Russian president accepted yesterday was against international law, and the absorption into the Russian Federation is, in our firm opinion, also against international law,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said to reporters in Berlin, according to The New York Times.
The White House also condemned the move, saying they would not recognize the annexation.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the British Parliament on Tuesday that the Ukrainian crisis is “the most serious test of European security in the 21st century so far.”
Vice President Joe Biden also condemned the Russian move in a speech delivered in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday.
“Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab,” Biden said. “But the world has rejected those arguments.”
The response from the U.S. is expected to be swift. The government will likely put a new round of sanctions in place that target Russian government officials, the Russian arms industry and Russians who work on behalf of government officials.
An unnamed senior American official cited by the Times called those who work on behalf of Russian government officials “Russian government cronies.”
Thus far, Putin has brushed aside any and all concerns about the sanctions.
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