Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk declared that the “Crimean issue” has degraded from the political into a military phase, blaming Russia for any possible escalation of the conflict.
He made the statement after the Kremlin announced that Crimea will be soon incorporated into Russia and signed a treaty with the Crimean authorities.
The move which the West has branded an annexation has been widely expected following the Sunday referendum on the peninsula populated by an ethnic Russian majority.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kremlin signed an order to recognize the independence of Crimea after its people overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.
The move has been condemned by the West, with the EU and the US imposing a raft of sanctions on individuals and freezing military cooperation.
US sanctions target seven Russian government officials — presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential advisor Sergey Glazyev, head of State Duma’s CIS committee Leonid Slutsky, head of the Federation Council’s Constitutional Legislation committee Andrey Klishas, speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin and head of State Duma’s committee for the affairs of family, women and children Yelena Mizulina.
The list also includes four Ukrainians, including the country’s former president Viktor Yanukovich, former chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk, and Crimea’s newly-elected leader Sergey Aksyonov and head of the republic’s legislature Vladimir Konstantinov.
The US is expected to freeze their assets and impose a visa ban.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, together with Secretary of State John Kerry, can impose asset freezes and travel restrictions on “any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official,” the White House said in a statement.
Many experts say it’s not just individual officials whose interested are at stake. All Russians will have a price to pay economically.
Author: Mikhail Vesely