Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The New York Times: It is time for Europe to join the US in threatining costly sanctions against Putin

The New York Times editorial is spot on, particularly with regard to Europe:

It is important at this stage of the confrontation in Ukraine to clarify that the issue is not simply “who owns Crimea.” There is a difficult question there, and as secession-minded people in Quebec, Scotland or Catalonia have shown, there are legitimate ways to raise it.
The real issue is the way President Vladimir Putin of Russia has thrown down the gauntlet: sending Russian forces to seize control of Crimea; concocting nonexistent “fascist” threats to the Russian population; refusing to recognize the interim government in Kiev; calling for a phony referendum in Crimea on Sunday and a vote in Russia on March 21 whose outcomes are foreordained.
Whether Mr. Putin ends up actually annexing Crimea to Russia or creating some other form of dependency is moot; his transparently phony preparations are based on presumptions of special Russian privileges in its former empire. The occupation of Crimea is illegal under international law, and it is time for Europe to join the United States in threatening the sort of costly sanctions that will leave Mr. Putin no doubt that they will not tolerate violations of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

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