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March 18, 2014

Western Powers Condemn Russian Annexation of Crimea

by VOA News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told his American counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, that sanctions on Russia over the annexation of Crimea are "unacceptable" and "will not remain without consequences."

Lavrov and Kerry spoke by telephone Tuesday, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty designating Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as part of Russia, against the wishes of Kyiv and the West.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Poland as part of a swing through Eastern Europe, characterized the move as a "land grab" and said the world is rejecting what he called Russia's "flawed logic" behind the annexation.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the dispute over Crimea presents a security problem to the entire region.

While in Eastern Europe, Biden will also meet with the heads of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, all former Soviet republics that share a border with Russia.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that Russia's participation in the Group of Eight economic powers has been suspended. However, other members have not confirmed that statement.

The Group of Seven economic powers -- the seven major industrialized nations of the world, which together with Russia form the Group of Eight -- earlier this month condemned Russia's actions in Crimea and canceled plans for a G8 summit scheduled for the Russian resort town of Sochi in June.

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