News / Europe

US, Britain: Tough Sanctions Against Russia if Ukraine Vote Is Disrupted

US, UK: Russia Will Face Sectoral Sanctions if it Disrupts Ukraine Votei
Scott Stearns
May 15, 2014 10:21 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague say the United States and European Union will hit Russia with far tougher economic sanctions if it tries to disrupt next week's presidential election in Ukraine. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from London where Kerry and Hague discussed the crisis in Ukraine with foreign ministers from France, Italy, and Germany.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague say the United States and European Union will hit Russia with far tougher economic sanctions if it tries to disrupt next week's presidential election in Ukraine. Kerry and Hague discussed the crisis in Ukraine Thursday in London with foreign ministers from France, Italy, and Germany.

Foreign Secretary Hague says the European Union and United States are preparing broader, sectoral sanctions against Russia if it interferes with May 25 voting to choose a new government in Kyiv.

"Russia's behavior towards the elections will determine whether or not wider economic and trade sanctions will be applied," he said.

Pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine, declaring sovereignty in two regions and rejecting plans for next week's presidential vote. Hague says disrupting that vote can take many different forms, so actions that Russia might be punished for cannot be defined in advance.

"We can't give and wouldn't want to give an exact definition of that," he said. "If we set a red line, Russia knows that they can go up to that red line without those sanctions."

Secretary Kerry says the U.S. and European Union message to Moscow is simple:

"Let Ukraine vote. Let the Ukrainian people choose their future," he said. "And let them do so in a fair, open, free, accessible, election."

Kerry says he hopes to avoid tougher sanctions and gain Russia's help in de- escalating the crisis.

"Our hope is that Russia will join in to encourage the vote, that Russia will encourage pro-Russian separatists to say that they should work through the process that has now been opened up - that Russia has helped insist on - so that process can now be given a chance to work," he said.

Ukraine launched national unity talks Wednesday without the participation of pro-Russian separatists. Kerry says the process is part of "serious, concrete plans" for increased autonomy and decentralization.

Russia says it fears for the rights of Russian-speakers in eastern provinces of Ukraine. Kerry told reporters in London that the level of self-governance being offered by Kyiv "far exceeds any level of autonomy or decentralization that exists anywhere in Russia.

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Comments page of 2
by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 15, 2014 5:04 PM
oh yeah, obama tries to save his face. there is no reason why Putin would disrupt the election.
a peaceful election would only do russia good. east Ukraine already vote to independence. even the new president is pro west. the east is still going to have a close tie with russia. if the president is pro russia, bravo, even better.
obama is so funny.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 17, 2014 10:54 AM
It's amazing how quickly ppl already forgot the riot in Kyev which removed the legitimate then president, and now crying for peace and election.
It's America who supported the riot. Everyone saw it. Because the president is pro Russia so you can remove him with riot? No wonder east Ukraine want to separate from Ukraine.
Again, violent root only bear violent fruits. America already lost all it's face in Ukraine!
In Response

by: joemac from: chicago
May 16, 2014 1:52 AM
You give a bad name to Canadians. Obviously with pro-Russia militia running rampant in eastern Ukraine and running the independence voting ballots that it would be near impossible for the everyday ma and pas to vote against Russia. No one in their right mind would go to the ballot and vote against the people with guns standing to their left and right. How about the steel workers kicking the pro-Russia hooligans out of their cities in Eastern Ukraine? If anything shows the true direction of the people it is the work force that garners up nearly 70% of the local economy. The people that actually live and work in those cities are forcing out Putin's punks. Let the entire country have a civilized election whether they choose pro-Russia or pro-west whose to dictate but the people themselves. Not just these referendums where you have armed guards at ballot boxes indirectly determining the outcomes of the elections.
In Response

by: John Hung from: USA
May 16, 2014 1:13 AM
I disagree. Leaving the subject of Obama's weak foreign policy for another thread, there are plenty of reasons why Putin must disrupt Ukraine's election, the main one being Putin's own political fate as Russians will follow Ukraine to shed its FSB cancerous grip on economy and human rights. The Eastern Ukrainian "vote for independence" was a sham and has already evaporated in the wake of Akhmetov's change of heart in support of Kiev's legitimate government. Obama is, unfortunately, not funny. His lack of leadership led directly to both the Syrian and the Ukrainian crises. Bush's economic meltdown of 2008 has not helped either. But, I am happy to know that, at least one person is amused.

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