Bowing to the reality of the Russian military occupation of Crimea a day after Russia announced it was annexing the disputed peninsula, the Ukrainian government said on Wednesday that it had drawn up plans to evacuate all of its military personnel and their families and was prepared to relocate as many as 25,000 of them to mainland Ukraine.
CRIMEAN CRISIS: Pro-Russian protesters remove the gate of Ukrainian navy headquaters as Russian troops stand guard in Crimean city of Sevastopol on March 19, 2014. Pro-Russian protesters seized Ukraine’s Crimean naval headquarters and captured its commander on Wednesday after Moscow claimed the peninsula and the first casualties ratcheted up stakes in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
Vasiliy BATANOV/AFP/Getty Images
“They (The West) cheated us again and again, made decisions behind our back, presenting us with completed facts. 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.’ ”
– Russian President Vladimir Putin signing a treaty to annex Crimea from Ukraine
[The New York Times] U.S. and Europe Step Up Sanctions on Russian Officials
President Obama signed an executive order freezing the assets and banning visas for Russians deemed to be responsible for the seizing of Crimea or otherwise interfering in Ukrainian sovereignty. Among those targeted were several top aides or allies of President Vladimir V. Putin, and the White House threatened to go after more if Russia did not back down.
Among those penalized on Monday were Vladislav Surkov, for years one of Mr. Putin’s most influential advisers, known as the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal”; Sergei Glazyev, an economist who has been advising Mr. Putin on Ukraine; Valentina Matviyenko, chairman of the Federation Council, the upper house of Parliament; and Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy prime minister. No sanctions were placed on Mr. Putin.
Others named by the White House were Leonid Slutsky and Yelena Mizulina, members of the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament; and Andrey Klishas, a member of the Federation Council who wrote a bill to seize assets of Western individuals and assets in retaliation for any sanctions imposed on Russia.
The White House also sanctioned two Russian-supported figures who have taken power in Crimea — Sergei Aksyonov, the newly declared prime minister; and Vladimir Konstantinov, the newly declared speaker of its Parliament. It also targeted Viktor F. Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian president deposed in February; and Viktor Medvedchuk, head of a pro-Russian civil society group, Ukrainian Choice.
(Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)
[The New York Times] Obama’s Statement on New Sanctions Against Russia