Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Crimea’s secession referendum in phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday [AP]. Putin said:
“The steps taken by the legitimate leadership of Crimea are based on the norms of international law and aim to ensure the legal interests of the population of the peninsula.”
According to Russian news agencies, the Russian Ministry of Defense threatened to consider stopping international inspections of its nuclear weapons in response to threatened sanctions from the U.S. and NATO [Washington Post’s Kathy Lally and Carol Morello].
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed yesterday that “[t]his is our land” and vowed not to “budge a single centimeter from Ukrainian land” [AP]. And tens of thousands of people have held rival pro-unity and pro-Russian rallies, as Russia “continues to strengthen its grip on Crimea” [BBC].
The White House has announced that Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk will visit President Obama on March 12 to discuss “how to find a peaceful resolution to Russia’s ongoing military intervention in Crimea that would respect Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Obama spoke with his counterparts in Latvia, Lithuania, France, Estonia, Italy and the UK over the weekend to discuss how to “de-escalate” the situation. And White House national security adviser Tony Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union” (Candy Crawley) that the door to diplomacy is still “clearly open” with Russia.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has urged a political solution to the crisis and called on all sides “to remain calm and exercise restraint,” during separate telephone calls with Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel [Reuters].… continue »