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Russia leaves the US out in the cold on Crimea

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It has been a week long period of two lengthy telephone calls between Obama and Putin, negotiations between Kerry and the Russian Foreign Prime Minister but Crimea is now closer to Russia as the Russian Parliament spoke out late Friday on support of Crimea.

At the end of the call on Thursday between Obama and Putin, the US-Russian relations were more strained and no middle ground in sight. For his part, Putin said Russia could not ‘ignore calls for help and acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law’.

But he also said US-Russian ‘relations should not be sacrificed due to disagreements over individual, albeit extremely significant, international problems.’

Now to add to the strain in the relations both houses of the Russian Parliament said late Friday that they would support Crimea becoming a region of the Russian Federation despite the warnings and sanctions threatened by the United States and the other countries. The EU is a large trading partner with Russia, and the natural gas situation is a major player in the dispute.

The message from Russia has changed from earlier in the week when Putin stated that he did not see Crimea becoming an annex of Russia. Late on Friday Russia’s parliamentary leaders, both strong allies of Putin, issued welcome messages to a delegation from Crimea’s regional assembly. There is a vote set for March 16 for the Crimean people by their leaders. However, Putin must agree to this and he has not done so as yet.

A vote is set for March 25 in the Ukraine to elect a permanent President. The interim Ukranian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has stated, ‘Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine,’ he said.

At the start of the Ukraine crisis and ouster of President Yanukovych, Putin did not show interest in Crimea joining Russia and neither did the Russian Parliament. But that all changed yesterday when Valentina Matvienko, speaker of Russia's upper house of Parliament, told the Crimean delegation it would ‘support and welcome’ any decision made by the Crimean people to become a part of Russia, posted by Reuters late Friday.

It has been questioned if this sever of Crimea from the Ukraine has been years in the making but due to Putin’s change in words and initiative this past week it appears spur of the moment

‘We shouldn’t assume there was a grand plan,’ said Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia’s security forces from New York University who is in Moscow and regularly meets with security officials. ‘They seem to be making things up as they go along.’

At the time of the Ukraine upheaval Putin warned Yanukovych, ‘You will have anarchy,’ Putin said he told him. ‘There will be chaos in the capital. Have pity on the people.’ But he did it anyway. And as soon as he did it, his office and that of the government were seized, and the chaos I warned him about erupted, and it continues to this day.’

Putin’s closest advisers are now veterans of the K.G.B., specifically colleagues of Putin’s when he served in the organization in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, during the 1970s and ’80s.

He has chosen to shut off those world leaders who do not share his world view. What really is Putin’s plan? Sergei A. Markov, a political strategist who advises the Kremlin, said it was not yet clear. ‘He is improvising,’

To find more about the Crimea and the situation see the list below in Author's suggestions and the video atop this article about the Crimean vote to secede.

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