Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Poland, announced on Tuesday that the U.S. and European governments would begin placing economic sanctions on Russia for that country's attempts at annexing Crimea.
Biden condemned Russia's actions as “nothing more than a land grab.”
“Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab, including what he said today,” Biden said. “But the world has seen through Russia's actions and has rejected the flawed logic behind those actions.”
There has been worry in Poland that they could also see conflict with Russia, as Poland was a Soviet state during the Cold War.
“It's a simple fact that Russia's political and economic isolation will only increase if it continues down this dark path,” Biden continued.
On Sunday, the people of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and become a part of Russia. Western governments, however, have expressed disapproval of this, condemning the Russians as being aggressive and the vote as illegal.
In a speech on the issue on Monday, Pres. Obama said that Russia is violating Ukraine's sovereignty.
“In recent months, as the citizens of Ukraine have made their voices heard, we have been guided by a fundamental principle -- the future of Ukraine must be decided by the people of Ukraine,” Obama said. “That means Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and international law must be upheld.
“And so, Russia’s decision to send troops into Crimea has rightly drawn global condemnation. From the start, the United States has mobilized the international community in support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions and to reassure our allies and partners. We saw this international unity again over the weekend, when Russia stood alone in the U.N. Security Council defending its actions in Crimea. And as I told President Putin yesterday, the referendum in Crimea was a clear violation of Ukrainian constitutions and international law, and it will not be recognized by the international community.”
Others have criticized the U.S. government for interfering in something that they say shouldn't concern them, such as former Congressman Ron Paul.
In an opinion piece for USA Today published on Monday, Paul defended the Crimean vote and condemned U.S. politicians for getting involved.
“Opponents of the Crimea vote like to point to the illegality of the referendum. But self-determination is a centerpiece of international law,” Paul wrote. “Article I of the United Nations Charter points out clearly that the purpose of the U.N. is to 'develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.'”
He further criticized the U.S. government for apparent hypocrisy.
“Critics point to the Russian 'occupation' of Crimea as evidence that no fair vote could have taken place. Where were these people when an election held in an Iraq occupied by U.S. troops was called a 'triumph of democracy'?"