Two days ago voters in Crimea overwhelmingly supported leaving Ukraine and come under Russian rule. The final count found 95 percent voted in favor on the referendum.
On Tuesday Putin signed a treaty with Crimean leaders that would annex the splintered region.
Defying the U.S. and European nations, President Vladimir Putin vowed his intention to make Crimea part of the Russian Federation. The move now goes before parliament to ratify the agreement.
The Crimean parliament voted to formally change the territory’s name to the Republic of Crimea, to drop the Ukrainian hryvnia and make the Russian ruble the official currency, and set the local clocks two hours forward to synchronize with Moscow.
Some say the so-called referendum held in Crimea was conducted under illegal military occupation.
Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation wrote in The Foundry, “Simply put, the Kremlin’s lawlessness has now jeopardized one of the most stable spheres of peace and prosperity on the planet. We not only have to be concerned about the future of freedom in the Ukraine, but Russia’s dark shadow on the transatlantic partnership.”
In response to the unilateral move, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on more than 2,000 Russian officials, but some commentators say the retort is too little and too late.
During the 2012 presidential campaign Barack Obama mocked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about his concern with Russia’s potential to be a “geo-political” threat.
“You said Russia. Not Al Qaida. You said Russia,” Obama said during an October 2012 presidential debate regarding biggest threats. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
What now appears to be an intuitive response, Romney quipped: “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe… and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”