Russia Unfazed by American Threats of Sanctions
Russia remained unfazed on Friday in the face of United States threats to sanction it over its incursion in Ukraine, reports Reuters.
In a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "warned against hasty and reckless steps capable of causing harm to Russian-American relations, particularly ... sanctions, which would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang", the Foreign Ministry said.
Earlier this week, the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate said it was preparing legislation to provide support to Ukraine and consulting with the Obama administration on possible sanctions against individual Russians and Ukrainians cooperating with them.
Meanwhile, according to CNN, Russia's parliament on Friday as it gave its defiant support to Crimean lawmakers who want to see their region split from Ukraine and join Russia.
On Thursday, the parliament of Crimea voted to join Russia, in a move analysts fear will exacerbate the Russia-Ukraine standoff.
Members of Parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation.” Analysts said the declaration must have had approval from Russia’s leaders.
In addition, the local government moved forward a national referendum on the issue of joining Russia. The referendum will now be held within 10 days.
Valentina Matvienko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, told a visiting Crimean delegation on Friday that Moscow would "support and welcome" any decision made by the Crimean people to become a part of Russia.
"We have no rights to leave our people when there's a threat to them. None of the sanctions will be able to change our attitude," Matvienko said, according to CNN.
The delegation was greeted with loud applause in the lower house, where the speaker described the decision to hold the referendum as "dictated by the willingness to protect human rights and lives."
Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk condemned talk of a split amid the presence of thousands of Russian troops in Crimea.
"I want to warn separatists and other traitors of the Ukrainian state who are trying to work against Ukraine, any of your decisions taken is unlawful, unconstitutional, and nobody in the civilized world is going to recognize the results of the so-called referendum of the so-called Crimean authorities," he said Friday.
Russia sent troops to the Crimea region, which has an ethnic Russian majority, following the political unrest in Ukraine. Arutz Sheva’s correspondent in Kharkov warned this week that Ukraine does not intend to capitulate to Russia’s move to take over Crimea.
President Barack Obama has been criticized by Republicans who say he is “all talk and no action” on Russia.
In fact, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Monday that events in Ukraine are directly related to Obama's “feckless” policies.
While a military move is not an option for the U.S. at present, he opined, “the most powerful nation in the world should have many options – including economic actions." He added, with emotion, "This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength anymore!”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)