Putin declares Crimea 'sovereign and independent' - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Putin declares Crimea 'sovereign and independent'

Posted: Updated:
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) Russian President Vladimir Putin (left)

By MARIA DANILOVA
Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Crimea as a "sovereign and independent country" Monday, just hours after the strategic Black Sea peninsula declared it had broken away from Ukraine.

The moves triggered the toughest Western sanctions against Russia since the Cold War -- with Washington and the European Union retaliating with asset freezes and travel bans and U.S. President Barack Obama vowing to "increase the cost" if the Kremlin does not back down.

Ukraine's turmoil has become Europe's most severe security crisis in years and tensions have been high since Russian troops seized control of Crimea, which decided in a Sunday referendum to merge with Russia. Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea's independence, and Russian troops were massed near the border with Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's acting president raised tensions on the ground by calling for the activation of some 20,000 military reservists and volunteers across the country and for the mobilization of another 20,000 in the recently formed national guard.

In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, ethnic Russians applauded the Sunday referendum that overwhelmingly called for secession and for joining Russia. Masked men in body armor blocked access for most journalists to the parliament session that declared independence, but the city otherwise appeared to go about its business normally.

The U.S., EU and Ukraine's new government do not recognize the referendum held Sunday in Crimea, which was called hastily as Ukraine's political crisis deepened with the ouster of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych following months of protests and sporadic bloodshed. In addition to calling the vote itself illegal, the Obama administration said there were "massive anomalies" in balloting that returned a 97 percent "yes" vote for joining Russia.

Obama warned that Russia could face more financial punishment.

"If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions," Obama said.

One of the top Russian officials hit by sanctions mocked Obama.

"Comrade Obama, what should those who have neither accounts nor property abroad do? Have you not thought about it?" Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted. "I think the decree of the President of the United States was written by some joker."

Moscow considers the vote legitimate and Putin was to address both houses of parliament Tuesday on the Crimean situation.

In Kiev, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov vowed that Ukraine will not give up Crimea.

"We are ready for negotiations, but we will never resign ourselves to the annexation of our land," a somber-faced Turchynov said in a televised address to the nation. "We will do everything in order to avoid war and the loss of human lives. We will be doing everything to solve the conflict through diplomatic means. But the military threat to our state is real."

The Crimean referendum could also encourage rising pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine's east and lead to further divisions in this nation of 46 million.

A delegation of Crimean lawmakers was set to travel to Moscow on Monday for negotiations on how to proceed. Russian lawmakers have suggested that formally annexing Crimea is almost certain -- with one saying it could happen within days.

"We came back home to Mother Russia. We came back home, Russia is our home," said Nikolay Drozdenko, a resident in Sevastopol, the key Crimean port where Russia leases a naval base from Ukraine.

The Crimean parliament declared that all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula will be nationalized and become the property of the Crimean Republic. It gave no further details. Lawmakers also asked the United Nations and other nations to recognize it and began work on setting up a central bank with $30 million in support from Russia.

The United States announced sanctions against seven Russian officials, including Rogozin, Putin's close ally Valentina Matvienko who is speaker of the upper house of parliament and Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin's top ideological aides. The Treasury Department also targeted Yanukovych, Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov and two other top figures.

The EU's foreign ministers slapped travel bans and asset freezes against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine following Crimea's referendum. The ministers did not immediately release the names and nationalities of those targeted by the sanctions.

"We need to show solidarity with Ukraine and therefore Russia leaves us no choice," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters in Brussels before the vote. "The `Anschluss' of Crimea cannot rest without a response from the international community."

He was referring to Nazi Germany's forceful annexation of Austria.

But markets appeared to signal that the Western sanctions lacked punch -- with bourses both in Russia and Europe rising sharply on relief that they won't hit trade of business ties.

"So far the sanctions seem fairly toothless and much less severe than had been expected last week," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com. "From the market's perspective, the biggest risk was that the referendum would trigger tough sanctions against Russia that could lead to another Cold War."

Moscow, meanwhile, called on Ukraine to become a federal state as a way of resolving the polarization between Ukraine's western regions -- which favor closer ties with the 28-nation EU -- and its eastern areas, which have long ties to Russia.

In a statement Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine's parliament to call a constitutional assembly that could draft a new constitution to make the country federal, handing more power to its regions. It also said country should adopt a "neutral political and military status," a demand reflecting Moscow's concern about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO and possibly integrating closer politically and economically with the EU.

Russia is also pushing for Russian to become one of Ukraine's state languages alongside Ukrainian.

In Kiev, Ukraine's new government dismissed Russia's proposal Monday as unacceptable, saying it "looks like an ultimatum."

The new government in Kiev was established after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last month after three months of protests culminated in deadly clashes.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya visited NATO headquarters in Brussels to request technical equipment to deal with the secession of Crimea and the Russian incursion there.

NATO said in a statement that the alliance was determined to boost its cooperation with Ukraine, including "increased ties with Ukraine's political and military leadership."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • If I Stay

    If I Stay

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-08-21 02:14:45 GMT
    If I Stay is based on a best seller. Chloe Grace Moretz stars as a teen cellist facing tough choices, both here and in the space between life and death. Chloe and her co-star Jamie Blackley are telling Deco: bring some tissues, it's a tear jerker.
    If I Stay is based on a best seller. Chloe Grace Moretz stars as a teen cellist facing tough choices, both here and in the space between life and death. Chloe and her co-star Jamie Blackley are telling Deco: bring some tissues, it's a tear jerker.

  • Sin City

    Sin City

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:28 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:28:47 GMT
    Kindness and charm, unlike the people that live in Sin City, and i'm not talking about Vegas either. Things have changed in the town of Sin as in the motion picture while others have stayed the same. The cast of the movie told Deco what's new in part two.?
    Kindness and charm, unlike the people that live in Sin City, and i'm not talking about Vegas either. Things have changed in the town of Sin as in the motion picture while others have stayed the same. The cast of the movie told Deco what's new in part two.?
  • Bourbon Steak

    Bourbon Steak

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:26:53 GMT
    This year's Miami Spice could use a phone book just to list the restaurants taking part, more than a hundred. Which means filling up on three courses for only $39 bucks. And at some places, that means saving a whole lot of money.
    This year's Miami Spice could use a phone book just to list the restaurants taking part, more than a hundred. Which means filling up on three courses for only $39 bucks. And at some places, that means saving a whole lot of money.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:56 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:56:39 GMT
    The Atlanta hospital where two American aid workers were brought after getting infected with the Ebola virus will hold a news conference to discuss their discharge.
    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has recovered and was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working...
  • Holder offers reassurance to people of Ferguson

    Holder offers reassurance to people of Ferguson

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:36 AM EDT2014-08-21 11:36:39 GMT
    It's been a quieter night in Ferguson, Missouri. Some demonstrators returned to the streets Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white officer, but in diminished numbers.
    To reassure the people of Ferguson, Attorney General Eric Holder reached into his own past, recalling the times he had been stopped by police officers who seemed to target him because of his race.
  • Hearing set in Amish girls' kidnapping in NY

    Hearing set in Amish girls' kidnapping in NY

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:24 AM EDT2014-08-21 10:24:28 GMT
    A woman accused along with her boyfriend of abducting and sexually abusing two young Amish sisters is due in court for a preliminary hearing.
    A woman accused along with her boyfriend of abducting two young Amish sisters from a farm stand and sexually abusing them is due in court for a preliminary hearing.
  • National SportsMore>>

  • Lynx's Moore wins WNBA MVP award

    Lynx's Moore wins WNBA MVP award

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:55 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:55:05 GMT
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer Minnesota's Maya Moore has won the WNBA most valuable player award after leading the league in scoring.
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer Minnesota's Maya Moore has won the WNBA most valuable player award after leading the league in scoring.
  • Ledecky wins 2 gold; Missy Franklin misses out

    Ledecky wins 2 gold; Missy Franklin misses out

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:14 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:14:01 GMT
    Katie Ledecky grinned and nodded her head, very slightly, in a show of approval as she surveyed the times on the scoreboard for the 800-meter freestyle.
    Katie Ledecky grinned and nodded her head, very slightly, in a show of approval as she surveyed the times on the scoreboard for the 800-meter freestyle.
  • The finish line is in sight on the PGA Tour

    The finish line is in sight on the PGA Tour

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:53 AM EDT2014-08-21 07:53:32 GMT
    Rory McIlroy isn't just biding his time for the next seven months until the Masters and his chance to complete the career Grand Slam.
    Rory McIlroy isn't just biding his time for the next seven months until the Masters and his chance to complete the career Grand Slam.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Study reveals unequal distribution of teachers in Miami-Dade County

    Study reveals unequal distribution of teachers in Miami-Dade County

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-08-21 11:31:27 GMT
    NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE -- Miami-Dade County Schools are confronted with a tough lesson after a new study revealed the district isn't sending enough quality teachers to the schools that need them the most.
    NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE -- Miami-Dade County Schools are confronted with a tough lesson after a new study revealed the district isn't sending enough quality teachers to the schools that need them the most.

  • Arrest made in case of teen who went missing

    Arrest made in case of teen who went missing

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:16 AM EDT2014-08-21 11:16:43 GMT
    19-year-old James Pescovitz Gider19-year-old James Pescovitz Gider
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An arrest was made in the case of a South Florida teen who went missing but was found, Wednesday afternoon.
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An arrest was made in the case of a South Florida teen who went missing but was found, Wednesday afternoon.
  • Miami family prays son will be released by ISIS

    Miami family prays son will be released by ISIS

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:07 AM EDT2014-08-21 11:07:18 GMT
    PINECREST, Fla. -- A South Florida family is praying that their son, who is allegedly being held by ISIS militants, will be safely released and returned home.
    PINECREST, Fla. -- A South Florida family is praying that their son, who is allegedly being held by ISIS militants, will be safely released and returned home.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.