The battle between Russia and Ukraine has existed since the demise of the Soviet Union. Tensions in Ukraine have worsened in recent weeks, especially after the ousting of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych in February, creating violent anti-government rallies in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The violence spread to other regions where the local authorities refuse to adapt to new Ukrainian government.
Now that Russia has invaded the Crimean peninsula, the battle is receiving international attention. Not only did Russian president Vladimir Putin deny Russian troops that had taken over Crimea, but he also charged the Obama administration with meddling in Ukraine.
In remarks at the White House, Obama said, “If Russia continues this violation of international law, the resolution of the United States, all our allies, and the international community will remain firm.”
Secretary of State John Kerry has been included in mediating the situation by talking with Russia, France, Germany, Britain and Ukraine. The countries met in Paris and discussed ways to stabilize Ukraine. In an interview after the meeting, Kerry stated, “It is not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve.”
United States heightened its response to Russia’s military and economic threats in Ukraine by imposing visa bans on officials and others responsible for actions that have undermined Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s human rights commissioner and a former ambassador to the United States, was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying, “The U.S. has the right [to impose a visa ban] and we have the right to respond to it,” “But all that is, of course, not making me happy.”
In Washington, President Obama said the new sanctions were intended to demonstrate that the world stands united against the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula this past weekend. The eyes of the world are now fixed squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he faces pressure from the United States and other Western Countries to loosen his grip on Crimea.
Jessica Macay is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM747402@wcupa.edu.