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WORLD
March 19, 2014 | By Paul Richter and Sergei L. Loiko
WASHINGTON - Frustrated by the failure of Western sanctions and diplomacy to stop Russia from seizing Crimea, the Obama administration and its allies scrambled Wednesday to devise new and tougher economic penalties in hope of preventing President Vladimir Putin from moving forces into Ukraine's eastern territory. A day after Putin signed a treaty to annex Crimea, U.S. officials acknowledged that Ukraine has lost the region. Pro-Russia forces seized control of two Ukrainian naval bases in the Black Sea peninsula on Wednesday, including the naval headquarters in Sevastopol.
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WORLD
March 17, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Christi Parsons and Sergei L. Loiko
WASHINGTON - In the most direct East-West confrontation since the Cold War, the White House and the European Union imposed sanctions against more than two dozen Russian and Ukrainian officials Monday and threatened more penalties if Moscow does not back down in Crimea. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree that recognized Crimea as "sovereign and independent" after Sunday's overwhelming vote there in favor of secession from Ukraine. Legislators in Crimea on Monday declared the region independent of Ukraine and set a course to formally join Russia: They adopted the Russian ruble as the official currency and began to nationalize assets of the Ukrainian government and state-owned companies.
WORLD
March 17, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- President Obama warned Monday that the penalties on Russia could be expanded if President Vladimir Putin's government does not back down from its military takeover of Crimea as the White House announced travel and financial sanctions on 11 senior Russian and Ukrainian officials. "Further provocations will do nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world," Obama said in a statement at the White House. "We can calibrate our response on whether Russia chooses to escalate or deescalate the situation.
WORLD
March 17, 2014 | By Henry Chu, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
LONDON - Europe's top diplomats began huddling in Brussels on Monday to finalize sanctions on individuals leading the drive to split Crimea off from Ukraine and deliver it to Russia. The EU effort is likely to increase tensions with Moscow. Foreign ministers from the 28 nations of the European Union say they are united in condemning Sunday's secession vote in Crimea as illegal, invalid and worthy of a strong riposte. That response will start with travel bans and asset freezes on people who the EU believes facilitated Russia's military incursion into the Crimean peninsula and expedited the referendum on breaking away from Ukraine.
WORLD
March 16, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Partial election results released late Sunday showed Crimean voters overwhelmingly supporting a referendum measure that would see their region break away from Ukraine and join Russia. With half the ballots counted, Mikhail Malyshev, head of the Crimea Election Commission, said in televised remarks that more than 95% of voters approved the option of annexation with Russia over a second option offered, which called for seeking more autonomy within Ukraine. The referendum was widely denounced by the United States, much of Europe and Ukraine's acting government, which came to power last month after protests drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich from power, as an illegal seizure of Ukraine's territory.
WORLD
March 14, 2014 | By Henry Chu and Sergei L. Loiko
LONDON - The top U.S. and Russian diplomats tried but failed Friday to avert escalation of the conflict over the Crimean peninsula, leaving Moscow and Washington badly divided over the legality and consequences of a Sunday referendum on whether Crimea should secede from Ukraine. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Western nations would not recognize the vote and that if the vote goes forward they would swiftly begin imposing sanctions on Moscow, whose proxies in Ukraine are driving the secession bid. He also warned that any move by the Russian government or lawmakers to ratify the outcome of the referendum, almost certain to endorse secession, would amount to an illegal "backdoor annexation" of Crimea.
WORLD
March 12, 2014 | By Henry Chu
KIEV, Ukraine - For all its moral outrage and vows never to be partitioned, this country has become almost a bystander to the struggle over its future. With Russian forces looming over a disputed vote on secession in Crimea, it's increasingly clear that what happens to Ukraine will be decided not here in its capital, Kiev, but in Moscow, Washington and Brussels, the real power brokers in Europe's worst geopolitical crisis this century. By itself, Ukraine lacks the political, economic and military clout to take on its giant neighbor to the east.
WORLD
March 12, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
The leaders of Germany and Poland warned Russia on Wednesday that it has until Monday to agree to work with an international "contact group" to resolve the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea region or face immediate sanctions. At a meeting in Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put the Kremlin on notice that what are seen as its provocative moves aimed at annexing Crimea -- despite Moscow's disavowal -- threatened to dramatically escalate tensions throughout Europe.
WORLD
March 6, 2014 | By Henry Chu
LONDON -- The European Union has frozen the assets of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, two of his sons and more than a dozen advisors who it says are responsible for stealing state funds. Announcement of the blacklist Thursday came as leaders of the EU's 28 member countries gathered for an emergency summit in Brussels to try to forge a tough common response to Russia's incursion into Crimea. Most of the 18 individuals affected by the asset freeze are members of Yanukovich's inner circle who were involved in the bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters in Kiev.
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