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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 16, 2014 - 12:03 pm

The White House referred to Crimea’s “referendum” on joining Russia in quotation marks today as exit polls showed a landslide in favor of Vladimir Putin.

Many Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars boycotted the vote in protest. Broadcast news crews witnessed some voters dropping in more than one ballot. Pro-Russia Crimeans partied around a statue of Lenin in Sevastopol before ballots were counted.

The paper ballot offered no checkbox for Crimeans choosing to stay with Ukraine.

“The United States has steadfastly supported the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine since it declared its independence in 1991, and we reject the ‘referendum’ that took place today in the Crimean region of Ukraine. This referendum is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

“No decisions should be made about the future of Ukraine without the Ukrainian government. Moreover, this vote was not necessary. The Ukrainian government has made clear its willingness to discuss increased autonomy for Crimea, and the presidential elections planned for May 25 provide a legitimate opportunity for all Ukrainians to make their voices heard on the future of their country.”

Carney noted that Russia “spurned” their calls for international monitors to observe the referendum and escalated military intervention.

“Russia’s actions are dangerous and destabilizing. The UN Security Council recognized this in a vote yesterday that only Russia opposed. As the United States and our allies have made clear, military intervention and violation of international law will bring increasing costs for Russia – not only due to measures imposed by the United States and our allies but also as a direct result of Russia’s own destabilizing actions,” he continued.

“In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another. We call on all members of the international community to continue to condemn such actions, to take concrete steps to impose costs, and to stand together in support of the Ukrainian people and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

The Kremlin said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin talked on the phone today, with an ominous hint of Russia moving in on more Ukrainian territory under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians.

“President Putin pointed out that the Crimean people express their will in full accordance with international law, in particular, article 1 of the United Nations Charter that sets forth the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. It has been stressed that Russia will respect the Crimean people’s choice,” the Kremlin statement said.

“Mr Putin also expressed concern over tensions in eastern and south-eastern parts of Ukraine being heated up by radical groups with the connivance of current Kiev authorities.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CNN this morning that he was betting on Russia getting 70 percent of the vote in the Crimea referendum, while the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was betting 80 percent. Exit polls have said 93 percent.

“Look, it is a bogus thing. We used to call it plebecide in the days of Hitler and Stalin. It is a done deal,” McCain said.

“Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. It’s kleptocracy, it’s corruption, it’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy. And so economic sanctions are important.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement that Congress is on board.

“The phony referendum in Crimea is a throwback to the Soviet era. No vote occurring under military occupation deserves to be treated as legitimate. This referendum is clearly unconstitutional,” Royce said. “Congress and the President must impose tough sanctions and other measures on those who have brought about this crisis. The Administration should be working overtime to help break Putin’s energy grip on Ukraine and eastern Europe.”     

 

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Kinda ironic a Demorat complaining about vote fraud.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
From the moment the Obama administration broke the treaty with Eastern Europe to provide them missile defense, Putin has known that he owns Obama. I am surprised it took him this long to use that. I guess he just wanted to wait till after his Olympics.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another."

No, we will not stand quietly by. We will flap our arms and our jaws. Aimlessly.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Blah ... Blah ... Blah

"Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue." -La Rochefoucauld (1630-1680)

The USA fund anti-governmental rebellion in Nicaragua.

The USA invade Grenada and deposes its government.

The USA invade Panama, kills hundreds of Panamanians, and kidnaps its President.

All these militaristic actions directly reflected issues within the American sphere of influence.

With the approval of the democratically-elected, Ukrainian President deposed by a violent mob, Russia invades Crimea, ceded to Ukraine by then-Chairman Khrushchev and made home by a Russian fleet. The USA and its feckless, impotent allies in Western Europe scream.

Time for retaliation! First step? Cancel a meaningless multi-national meeting with the Russians.

Second step? Sanctions. You know, the kind that succeeded against Cuba, North Korea, and Iran.

Third step? War? Over Ukraine? No way! “Fuggedaboutit,” as the New Yorkers say, “but quietly.”

As for Russian pretense, recall the Mexican-American War of 1846. Right, Spotty?*

Ukraine is not within the American sphere of national interest. Ukraine is within the Russian sphere of national interest.

American foreign policy once again shows itself to be no foreign policy. There is a better way (www.inescapableconsequences.com).

*In declaring war against Mexico, President Polk claimed that Mexican troops had fired on American troops. A young congressman disputed the claim, challenging President Polk to show him the spot where the incident occurred. Thereafter, the congressman was given the nickname, Spotty. His real name was Abraham Lincoln.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well Francis, welcome back to history.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Vlad The Terrible is on the march to recoup the 'illegally' broken up USSR - will Germany give up the former E. Germany to appease Vlad? How much of Eastern Europe will Vlad be satisfied with?

Lets let the EU handle this crisis and see how well they can handle this without having to call for backup.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why would Germany give up the east? It was never part of the USSR.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We now have an administration that makes those career wimps in the State Department look positively macho. It just goes to show if you live long enough, you will see everything.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
A case of Russia being Russia. " Never as strong as nor as weak as she appears to be." But always an opportunist. Eventually she will absorb all of Ukraine. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakiaa, Hungary, and Rumania are probably having a few digestive problems tonight. They look westward and realize there is "no there, there."
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The paper ballot offered no checkbox for Crimeans choosing to stay with Ukraine." - that is patently false, Bridget. There were two options: secession from Ukraine to Russia or remaining part of Ukraine under terms of 1992 Crimean constitution.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The second option was "Are you in favor of restoring the 1992 Constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?" This was a post-Soviet stopgap that was quickly replaced by the young Ukrainian government. Under the 1992 document, returning to Russia would still happen by vote of the pro-Russia parliament in Crimea.

There was no option on the ballot for keeping things how things are under the current constitution -- an autonomous part of Ukraine.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 1992 constitution was exactly this - constitution of Crimea as autonomous part of Ukraine - but this autonomous status was diluted and diminished later.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 1992 document had broader self-determination rights independent of Kiev, including rejoining Russia through the parliament -- which would happen under current lawmakers if option 2 was selected. The fact remains there was no option on the ballot for the status quo.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
considering the definitiveness with which you state this, i assume that you saw a ballot for yourself and that you are absolutely certain that no nuances are lost in translation. i speak neither russian nor ukranian, but i assume that you do. correct?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
So a bunch of people boycotted the vote. Exactly how is that a good idea? Now they've lost and all they'll get is a crappy t-shirt.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
They get to pretend that a majority didn't vote for the result - it's just ballot stuffing. And the US gets to go along with this too. Oh, not saying there wasn't any - but even without that, you'd think it was a sure win. I hope they're not holding their breath expecting American tanks to liberate them.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
That sounds a lot like our recent presidential election.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kinda ironic a Demorat complaining about vote fraud.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama, Kerry and McCain are a satire, a burlesque, nothing but a joke.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The current Ukrainian government exists because of an illegal coup, over the objections of the Russians and Chinese. The current Libyan government exists because of an illegal coup, over the objections of the Russians and the Chinese, especially to calling that coup the Arab Spring. The new state of Kosovo was illegally annexed from Serbia without even a vote and over the protests of the Russians and the Chinese. It wasn't even called the Muslim Spring when Bill the Stalker was illegally bombing Serbia and the uppity Slavs. As I recall, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was destroyed during that illegal annexation by American's using an obsolete phone book for bomb targeting, requiring much grovelling and face saving time with the Chinese. Oh well. No wonder Vlad the Terrible is on a roll versus Barack the Brave from behind. Maybe it would be better for Western consumption if Vlad called the annexation the Slavic Spring? The Russian Revanche?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The China embassy bombing was not an accident. I've been a targeteer for a while and anyone with a clue knows.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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