With Russian troops taking control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is this weekend calling out the behavior of Russia on the matter.
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests,” Kerry told NBC's “Meet the Press" audience.
While the Secretary stated that Russia does have legitimate interests in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Crimea, Kerry also called the incursion of Russia into the area an "act of aggression."
Following at least a week of threats from the Obama Administration about the matter in the Ukraine, which Kerry said was not a struggle between East and West, the Secretary of State did issue the possible reactions from the U.S. and the West.
It all could lead to isolating Russia on the international stage, visa bans, asset freezes, disruption of normal trade, and the euphemism of nothing being "off the table," Kerry stated.
Russia “may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said in the NBC interview.
The G-8 is the group of industrialized nations which Russia joined after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and ABCnews is reporting this Sunday that the U.S. and U.K. will not participate in the "preparatory meetings for the G-8 summit" which are scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia, in June.
The U.S.’s decision came after a 90 minute phone conversation between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ABC reports.
No 'Eurasia Bloc' now
"There is no Russian Empire without Ukraine."
So says WSJ columnist Bret Stephens in the attached, recent video. Stephens, who visited the Crimean region last September, stated that it would be an area of discontent also because it is a very depressed region. The fact that Russian President Putin also ordered a surprise military exercise for 150,000 troops in the area and elsewhere, despite the tumult in Ukraine, is discussed in the video.
After the Edward Snowden affair, Putin has perhaps learned that the Obama Administration is "all bark, no bite," said Stephens.
Putin wanted to create "a Eurasia Bloc" but Kiev will not allow this, said Stephens. Having been there in Crimea last September, Stephen said it is "a very depressed area."
While U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on record that the Army must shrink to pre-World War II troop levels and focus on funding counterterrorism operations and cybersecurity programs as a way to thwart emerging rivals such as China, according to the WashingtonTimes online, Stephens believes this may be a reason why Russia thought it a good moment to display its own forces.