Sunday, April 27 on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, George reported that President Obama was “stepping up the war of words” and “calling out” the Russian president on the crisis in Ukraine. According to the host of the Sunday morning news program, Putin seemed undeterred by the prospect of stronger sanctions from the U.S. which could start as soon as Monday. Even as he traveled in Asia over the past week, President Obama has had to deal with Russia's assaults on the Ukraine. Along with the other six members of the G7 alliance, the president warned Russia it would face damaging economic sanctions if President Putin takes further action to destabilize Ukraine after seizing Crimea last month, according to a Reuters post.
Russia's conflict with Ukraine continues to steadily escalate. Increasing numbers of Russian troops are stationed along the border and pro-Russian forces in the east detained eight international observers over the weekend. ABC News also reported that heavily-armed Russian separatists are fortifying their positions, using old tires to reinforce their barricades. BBC News reported that the U.S. and European Union (EU) are getting set to impose sanctions upon, not only the Russian government, but individuals and companies, as well. Sanctions will include seven additional individuals and 17 companies known to be among Russian president Vladimir Putin's “inner circle,” according to BBC News.
On Monday, April 28, Hennadiy Kernes, mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, was shot in the back by unidentified gunmen while on his way to a lake in the city for his regular morning swim, according to a post by The Guardian. According to BBC.com, Mayor Kernes underwent a two-hour operation to repair damage to his chest and abdomen and is now in recovery, though still “his life remain[s] in danger” said his office.
Zurab Alasania, Kharkiv journalist, believes Russia is responsible for Kernes' shooting, noting on his Facebook page that Kernes has not changed his morning routine although the security situation in the east has deteriorated. Alasania asserted that, “The Russian Federation is identifying and liquidating key centres of resistance,” according to The Guardian.