Ukraine Crisis: Russia Threatens to Retaliate

By Deip Majithia ’16

A Ukrainian woman holds a "Ukraine against war!" poster in support of a rally in Moscow.

A Ukrainian woman holds a “Ukraine against war!” poster in support of a rally in Moscow.

Uncertainty continues in Crimea as Ukrainian officials accuse Russian troops of armed aggression. Meanwhile, President Obama negotiated, in conjunction with world leaders, that Russia de-escalate the current situation.

The United States has accused Russia of occupying Crimea and demanded the Kremlin to recoil its troops. Putin’s men, in support of the new leaders in Crimea, rejected those allegations.  Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea’s regional parliament, said in a statement last week that the region would see higher living standards by joining Russia. A member of Parliament verified this statement by stating that the Kremlin had set aside more than $1 billion for assistance.

European leaders are beginning to explore alternatives to importing natural gas from the U.S. following Russia’s military intervention. According to the U.K. Foreign Secretary, William Hague, Russia is now facing long-term economic consequences for its actions in Ukraine.

European Union leaders have warned Russia of far-reaching economic, trade, and financial implications if the nation increased its invasion into Ukraine. The West also explained that it might have to practice travel bans and asset freezes on individuals in the event that Moscow did not enter into talks with the new government in Kiev.

The Kremlin warned it would retaliate against the Western sanctions proposed due to the implications and interferences on Ukraine. Amidst the various conflicts, Ukraine has stopped making payments on its £ 1.2 billion debts and Gazprom, the state-owned energy exporter, declared it would reduce deliveries to Kiev in response.  As one of the main transit routes for Europe, the suspension of Gazprom exports to Ukraine may spike prices and further disrupt supplies to Europe.

Russian officials issued a retaliation warning after the European Union began talks of suspending visa-free access for Russians to Europe. Given yesterday’s referendum where Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia, the United States and the European Union may in fact impose devastating sanctions and use military force against Russia.


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