Ukraine crisis: World powers threaten isolation as Russia invades Crimea

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 17:22

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Washington: As Western nations ratchet up diplomatic efforts to thwart Russian military aggression in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that Moscow may face the repercussions in form of economic sanctions and it may be shown the door ahead of G8 summit in Sochi, which might not take place.

The US on Sunday claimed that 6000 Russian troops had successfully occupied Crimea adding that Russian forces now had "complete operational control" of the Crimean peninsula.”

Also, the Russian troops marched to at least three bases in Crimea, telling the Ukrainian troops to surrender.

In another indication that Russia may be willing to rope in more troops in Ukraine, it was reported that Russia had also taken control of a key ferry terminal in the city of Kerch which joins Russia to Ukraine.

Reacting to the Russian incursion, Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Moscow`s act meant "declaration of war".

"This is a red alert. This is not a threat", he said.

The top industrial nations are scheduled to meet in Russia`s Black Sea resort of Sochi in June for the G8 Summit.

However, miffed with Moscow over its overtures in Ukraine, the UK, the US and France have pulled out of preparatory talks ahead of Sochi Summit.

John Kerry threatened that the top industrial nations were ready to “go to the hilt” to isolate Russia with a set of options that included economic sanctions, asset freezes, visa bans, trade isolation, etc.

Speaking to the NBC channel, Kerry said, “He is not going to have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues”.

Kerry added that American business may pull out of Russia thus hitting Russian trade leading to “a further tumble of the ruble”.

Kerry, who is set to reach Kiev on Tuesday to show support for Ukraine`s territorial integrity and sovereignty, on Sunday appeared in a series of chat shows on US news channels, reiterating threat of sanctions against Russia if it went ahead with its “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine.

Lashing out at Putin, Kerry said that even in the 21st century, Russia was behaving in an obsolete fashion by invading another country and that inasion was a sign of a weak nation.

"You just don`t in the 21st century behave in by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext," Kerry said on CBS news channel`s show "Face the Nation."

“It is really a stunning, wilful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations,” Kerry added.

Kerry echoed similar remarks in a series of tweets posted on his timeline, where he criticized Russia for its military build-up in Crimea of Ukraine.

Though earlier Kerry had said that for Russia "all options are on the table," which in diplomatic parlance means military option; however, in a tweet Kerry made it clear that the US did not want to worsen the situation in Ukraine by engaging militarily.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has started gearing up to face the giant after Russian troops took control of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea which is the flashpoint of Russian intervention.

After building up its military strength in Crimea, Putin on Saturday got the Russian Parliament nod to to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

Putin`s move invoked severe opposition from the US, UK and other nations which have warned Moscow against any further military action in Ukraine.

US President Barack Obama held a 90-minute phone call discussion with Putin over the military intervention in Ukraine, urging him to go for peaceful ways. 

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Kiev to express solidarity for Ukraine told the BBC Radio that Ukraine crisis was "the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century”.

Obama told Putin that Russian intervention would be a serious violation of international law and Ukrainian sovereignty. 

But Putin remained defiant, telling Obama that Russia possessed the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon also called for the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine and called up Putin conveying his concerns for any move that may compromise the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. 

"Cool heads must prevail and dialogue must be the only tool in resolving this crisis. I appealed to President Putin to urgently engage in direct dialogue with the authorities in Keiv," Ban said.

Ukraine`s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, also urged Putin to pull back his troops, saying "we are on the brink of disaster".

In Crimea Russian flags can be seen hoisted atop and Russian troops stationed outside many key administrative buildings.

At many places in Crimea, Ukrainian soldiers were embroiled in tussles with Russian soldiers as the latter sought to surround the major bases in Crimea.

Crimean peninsula is an autonomous region in Ukraine inhabited mostly by Russian speaking people. After the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych as the President, Crimea had seen many pro-Moscow rallies turning up at Sevastopol and other areas. 

Crimea is home to Russia`s Black Sea Fleet and two-million people, with most of them being ethnic Russians.



First Published: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 10:03

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