News / Europe

US, NATO Warn Russia Faces 'High Costs' Over Crimea

US, NATO Warn Russia Faces 'High Costs' Over Crimeai
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Jeff Seldin
March 20, 2014 12:51 AM
Russia is refusing to back down in the face of U.S. and European sanctions imposed over Moscow's annexation of Crimea. And as VOA's Jeff Seldin reports, Russia's latest actions have touched off a new round of worry for Russia's Western-leaning neighbors and more warnings from Washington.
Russia is refusing to back down in the face of U.S. and European sanctions imposed over Moscow's annexation of Crimea.  Russia's latest actions have touched off a new round of worry for Russia's Western-leaning neighbors and more warnings from Washington.

As Ukrainian naval forces looked on, Russia moved in pro-Russian militias.  They stormed the gates of Ukraine's naval headquarters and put new security in place.

In Washington, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Russia's aggression a "wake-up call."

"This is the gravest threat to European security and stability since the end of the Cold War," he said.

Rasmussen compared Russia to a bully and said Moscow's actions have forced NATO to suspend planning a joint escort mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.  

And while NATO is open to dialogue, he said the security of member states is paramount.

"The North Atlantic alliance has not wavered and it will not waiver," Rasmussen said.

It was a message U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also delivered, earlier, in Lithuania, to Russia's nervous Baltic neighbors.

"As long as Russia continues on this dark path, they will face increasing political and economic isolation," he said.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine, March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine, March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
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Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine, March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine, March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
At a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power took another verbal shot.

"Russia is known for its literary greatness and what you just heard from the Russian ambassador showed more imagination than Tolstoy or Chekhov," she said.

And she accused Russia of "rewriting" its borders.

A White House spokesman also warned Wednesday that existing sanctions, and new sanctions in the works, would ensure Russia pays a high price.

But Russia remains resolute, its constitutional court Wednesday approving legislation that allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to put the finishing touches on the annexation of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers brushed aside threats from the West.

"Any sanctions that they might impose against certain Russian officials is just a tiny vengeance and it won't achieve its goal,'' said Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak.

Russia is cementing its hold on Crimea both with force and with symbols.  New lettering in Russian on the facade of the Crimean parliament building is a sign of the times.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mohey from: Egypt, Alex
March 20, 2014 6:12 AM
Nato and US have warned Russia of any military interference in Ukraine. Nato has deployed a number of its fighter F16 and Falcon15 in Lask air base in Poland. US also has deployed its c130 Herucles in Powidz Poland. UK also has started to deployed its fighter from Lakenheath air base to Lithuania.01009873794

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
March 19, 2014 8:23 PM
There is plenty of warnings by the US President Obama, the EU and the NATO. But if there is any need to confront Russia or China, the warnings changes to indefinite never ending negotiations so that military action can be avoided under the pretext of negotiations. Why the US and the EU chicken out in facing Russia, China, Syria, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and the list goes on? The US is the biggest paper tiger of the 21st century. Hence more and more countries continue to challenge the US. EU remain a paralyzed dis-functional political entity with no unified military of their own, except live in the shadow of NATO. NATO is only a military arm of the US and without NATO the survival of EU is doubtful. Under these circumstances any dictator can challenge any democratic country including the US, EU and NATO.

by: Brandon from: Edmonton ab
March 19, 2014 7:23 PM
Warnings warning warnings, they warned before the referendum and now they are warning after the referendum, that is all that's going to happen. They don't dare do anything else. its all false bravado.

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