- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2014

It’s not a new “axis of evil,” but the White House on Monday placed Russia alongside some of the world’s most notorious regimes because of its recent actions in Ukraine.

The White House asserts that Russia violated Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” with its recent excursion into the Crimean peninsula — a charge that nearly all other nations, including China, seem to agree with.

But Russia maintains that its steps were justified and necessary to protect military assets and ethnic Russians in Crimea. Few nations agree with Moscow’s rationale, though it has found a few isolated pockets of support.

“Together with North Korea and I think Syria, the Syrian regime, [the Russians] are alone in that belief,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday when asked about Russian Vladimir Putin’s position that Ukrainian sovereignty has not been violated in Crimea.

The statement falls in line with the administration’s vow that Moscow, if it does not change course, increasingly will find itself alone in the world.

“Further provocations, further steps along the path Russia is currently on will result in further costs to Russia and further isolation for Russia. Those costs are real,” Mr. Carney said.

The administration on Monday announced a new round of economic sanctions aimed at seven Russian government officials and four Ukrainians. The European Union also reportedly will announce similar steps on Monday.

The actions come a day after Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia — a move the U.S. and its allies will not recognize as legitimate.