Europe prepares to punish Moscow
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — As Crimea grew more militarized and isolated on Tuesday, and hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis looked increasingly faint, European nations said they were preparing to punish Russia with sanctions within days.
European officials met in London to draw up penalties against Russia, likely to include asset freezes and travel bans, unless the country accepts a U.S. proposal to stop its expansion in Crimea and start discussions with Ukraine's new government. Until now, Western efforts to curb Russia's actions have focused on rhetoric and largely symbolic gestures, rather than measures that would cause meaningful pain in Moscow.
The European restrictions could mark a substantial escalation in a conflict that has pitted Russia against the West in a way not seen since the Cold War. But the Obama administration has refused to set a deadline for U.S. sanctions or indicate a specific Russian action that would trigger them. And analysts say that even tough sanctions are unlikely to force President Vladimir Putin to change course in Ukraine, given the depth of Russian interests there.
“For the Kremlin, and the wider elites that support it, the fate of Ukraine is a vital interest. They've tied Ukraine's future to their own,” said James Sherr, an associate fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House. “Any sanctions the EU is likely to come up with will not be sufficient to change that calculation.”
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Treasury Department is working on an escalating set of measures that allow the United States to “calibrate sanctions and other actions depending on the steps that Russia takes.”
Meanwhile, Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine's acting president, said his country would have to rebuild its military “effectively from scratch.” The pro-Western leader said Ukraine has only 6,000 combat-ready infantry, compared with 200,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's eastern border.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pakistan fervent about anti-blasphemy law
- Kurds apply pressure to Islamic State
- Liberia holds senate elections delayed by Ebola epidemic
- Thousands in Spain protest ban on demonstrations, burning national flag
- North Korea proposes joint probe over hacking attack against Sony
- No movement yet on Afghan cabinet
- In Mideast, refugee babies left stateless