EU imposes sanctions after Moscow wins overwhelming Crimea vote

March 17, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 17, – The European Union is to impose sanctions including asset freezes and travel bans on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine after Crimea applied to join Russia on Monday following a weekend referendum, Lithuania’s foreign minister said.

hromedia EU imposes sanctions after Moscow wins overwhelming Crimea vote eu news2Crimea’s leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favour of seceding from Ukraine in a vote condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West.

After a meeting lasting around three hours, the EU’s 28 foreign ministers agreed on a list of those to be sanctioned for their part in Russia’s seizure of Crimea and Sunday’s referendum on joining Russia.

The ministers had “just agreed on sanctions – travel restrictions & assets freeze against 21 officials from Ukraine & Russia,” Lithuanian foreign minister Linan Linkevicius wrote in a message on Twitter.

He said more measures would follow in a few days, when EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels. They are expected to expand the list to include more senior figures closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following Sunday’s referendum, Crimea’s parliament “made a proposal to the Russian Federation to admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic,” a statement on its website said.

The move, dismembering Ukraine against its will, would escalate the most serious East-West crisis since the Cold War.

As state media in Russia carried a startling reminder of its

power to turn the United States to “radioactive ash”, President Barack Obama spoke to Putin, telling the Russian president that he and his European allies were ready to impose “additional costs” on Moscow for violating Ukraine’s territory.

The Kremlin and the White House issued statements saying Obama and Putin saw diplomatic options to resolve the dispute.

But Obama said Russian forces must first end “incursions” into its ex-Soviet neighbour while Putin renewed his accusation that the new leadership in Kiev, brought to power by an uprising that toppled his elected Ukrainian ally last month, were failing to protect Russian-speakers from violent Ukrainian nationalists.

Moscow responded to Western pressure for an international “contact group” to mediate in the crisis by proposing a “support group” of states. This would push for recognition of the Crimean referendum and urge a new constitution for rump Ukraine that would require it to uphold political and military neutrality.

A complete preliminary count of Sunday’s vote showed that 96.77 percent of voters opted to join Russia, the chairman of the regional government commission overseeing the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev, announced on television.

Officials said the turnout was 83 percent. Crimea is home to 2 million people. Members of the ethnic Ukrainian and Muslim Tatar minorities had said they would boycott the poll, held just weeks after Russian forces took control of the peninsula.

Putin, whose popularity at home has been boosted by his action on Crimea despite risks for a stagnant economy, is to address a joint session of the Russian parliament about Crimea on Tuesday, his representative to the lower house said.

Press coordinator for HROmedia – Debi campillos contributed to this report.

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Category: European Crises

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