News / Europe

G7 Leaders to Discuss Containing Russia's Expansion

G7 Leaders to Discuss Containing Russia's Expansioni
Zlatica Hoke
March 22, 2014 2:36 AM
Leaders of the seven most developed nations will discuss possible additional responses to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands next week. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
VIDEO: Leaders of the seven most developed nations will discuss possible additional responses to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands next week. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke
Leaders of the seven most developed nations will discuss possible additional responses to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands next week.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a meeting of G7 leaders in The Hague, conspicuously leaving out Russia, which is a member of the G8 group. The United States and the European Union already have imposed some travel and economic sanctions on Russia, but analysts say these are not likely to reverse Moscow's decision on Crimea.

Russian flags are billowing over Crimea's official buildings, local banks are beginning to switch from Ukrainian hryvnia to the Russian ruble, and on March 30, Crimea is slated to adopt Moscow standard time, moving its clocks two hours ahead.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, said there is no doubt the Russian-speaking majority on the peninsula supports those changes.

"Realistically speaking, the demographics of Crimea and also the politics of how the referendum occurred, I think — there was obviously a very heavy Russian hand — but even absent a certain Russian influence on Crimea, I think you can see that the plurality of the people see themselves as something other than purely Ukrainian," he said.

Following Crimea?

Berman says Russians in other parts of the region may want to follow Crimea's example.

"I think certainly there is a dangerous possibility that Crimea is not the end of the story, but the beginning of the story," he said. "You are already seeing stirrings in places like Trans-Dniester in Moldova, where there are echoes of what you saw coming out of Crimea ahead of the referendum, essentially expressing sympathy for Russia, expressing desire for Russia to play a more active political role.

"All of this is emboldening, I think, for Moscow, as it looks abroad for possibilities to revise its territorial borders outward, and is hearing these calls for Russian intervention that are likely to embolden it," he added.

Berman notes that Russia already has a military presence in Moldova's Trans-Dniester region, which proclaimed independence in 1990 and fought a separatist war in 1992. Russian troops entered the region as peacekeepers after the war and have never left.  

Berman said Moscow is less likely to encroach on NATO or European Union member nations. Clearly aware of that, Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti urged EU leaders this week to speed up Moldova's European integration.

"In the context of this regional difficulty in which the Republic of Moldova is involved, I agreed with the Romanian president [Traian Basescu] of the need to give impetus to the process of integrating Moldova in Europe," said Timofti.

Pointed concern

Russia's move in Crimea has sent waves of concern even among some EU and NATO members, where the memory is still fresh of Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Leaders of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan meeting in The Hague Monday and Tuesday will discuss moves to contain Moscow's ambitions and reassure allies in the region.

Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill says the best way to do that is to speed up the Trans-Atlantic integration in eastern Europe and the Balkans. He singled out Macedonia, whose NATO membership has been blocked by Greece over a name dispute.

"I have always believed that Macedonia, which has acted like a NATO country, needs to be accepted as a NATO country," said Hill.

Analyst Ilan Berman agrees that NATO should fortify its members in eastern Europe, cautioning that Russia's future actions, however, will be determined primarily by its economic power.

Europe and especially Germany could have more impact on Russia's economy than the United States, he added.

"If there is a holding back as a result of Germany's decision to maintain economic ties with Russia, then the sanctions that come out of Brussels are going to be diluted,: Berman said. "They are not going to be as effective as they could be, and Russia is not going to be as deterred as it should be."

Russia's takeover of the Crimean peninsula has sparked the biggest dispute between Moscow and the West since the fall of the Iron Curtain, disrupting more than two decades of diplomatic and economic cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries.

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Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
March 23, 2014 8:58 PM
THE WISE MAN said it; ... The US, the EU, and the illegal government of Ukraine, and the western news media led to the mass hysteria, (with false information), that convinced the Crimean Russian people, to vote to join the Russian Federation..
CRAZY isn't it? ... Putin didn't have to do one single thing, but have Russian troops maneuver by the Ukraine borders, and the US, the EU, and the western news media did all that was necessary to create mass hysteria and chaos, leading to the Crimean's voting to become Russians..
CRAZY? .. The US, the EU, and western news media saw little green men in military uniforms, and ignorantly saw, and reported Russian combat troops invading Crimea...
CRAZIER? .. The Crimea war was won, because the US, the EU, and the western news media said it, (and believed Russia had invaded Crimea), while Putin and Russia did NOTHING?
SOMEONE has to make a comedy movie of this !!! ..... REALLY
In Response

by: Jon Snow from: Allston
March 24, 2014 11:51 AM
Moscow claims that it is not orchestrating the crowds of Crimea.
Deciding on right of ownership is a difficult question for locals of Crimea. When Russia and Ukraine (and some more countries) joined to form the Soviet Union, Crimea was still part of Russia. The general secretary of Soviet Union after 1953was Nikita Khrushchev, who was reportedly of Ukrainian national origin. Crimea jut’s outwards at the southern tip end of Ukraine like a “Jutland”. Crimea was reportedly transferred from maps of Russia to Ukraine by Khrushchev, as administering of Crimea from Kiev may be easier from Ukraine than from Moscow.

There is a reason why Russia is only interested in ethnic Russians of Crimea peninsula. Ethnic Russian Cossacks of Imperial Russian Army and Imperial navy were recruited in disproportionately high numbers from Crimean Russians (Cossacks) for the last three hundred years. Prior to joining imperial Russia, Cossacks used to wear European style dresses when they were at home near Crimea, and Cossacks used to dress like Turks and Islamic militants when they were at war, attacking Ottoman military installations while they are under Ottoman Islamic rule.

There was a historical saying that if one wanted a job in the Russian Imperial army, one had to claim to be a Cossack Russian from Crimea. When the Crimea came under the Ottoman Empire, ethnic Cossacks became part time resistance defenders and became more dispersed around the Caucasian region. Moscow has only recently started taking interest in Crimea because Crimean ethnic Russians had occasionally accused Moscow of selling out on the wishes and aspirations of Crimea to not be part of any other nation other than Moscow controlled Russia.

However, having said that, I also think that present group of noisy ethnic Russians living in Crimea are probably not descendents of the original Cossack Russians of Crimea.

by: Julius Omole from: U S A
March 23, 2014 3:30 PM
Putin deserve more than a black eye ,a bloodynose should be inflicted as a warning,lf all he gets is just a slap in the hand as it is not, what will stop China from invading Taiwan or Moscow.moving in for ALASKA?

by: Alfredo Galarraga from: Orlando
March 23, 2014 12:05 PM
Rusia to following been an immature country a nation.

The current situation described in before line, to tell us, the danger.

Unfortunately rusia it doesn't learn the lesson of the history or cool war.

Rusia kill more people than any other government or nation in the history of the humanity, an try to justify their action using the marxist dialectics, that no looking for the trut, only looking for to "win" own point of view so far of any truth, justice o reality.

General Patton warned us, that rusian are the true enemy.

In Response

by: Ekaterina from: Russia Moscow
March 24, 2014 7:46 AM
Ven the USA appeared as the nation, Russia already was the great power. Russia as the state doesn't make offensive wars (in difference from the USA). You badly taught at history school, but yet late to read works of antique authors, to read ancient documents and to learn the truth about our country and people, instead of to listen to your foolish TV.

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