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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Sergey Lavrov
Dozens of military trucks transporting heavily armed soldiers rumbled over Crimea's rutted roads Saturday as Russia reinforced its armed presence on the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea. Moscow's foreign minister ruled out any dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities, whom he dismissed as the puppets of extremists.
Malaysia Airlines 777 jet vanishes on flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 aboard
Underlying the talk about taking harsh punitive measures against Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine are economic complications and worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could, in the words of the Kremlin, "boomerang" back on the U.S. and Europe.
Facing off in Europe's capitals Wednesday, Russia and the West began building the elements of a diplomatic solution to Europe's gravest crisis since the Cold War - even as the West appeared increasingly resigned to an entrenched Russian presence in Crimea. NATO hit back by putting Russia on suspension, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country's fugitive president accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord.
Russia, West try to build diplomatic solution to Ukraine as Crimea tensions flare
The Obama administration called on Russia on Wednesday to allow international monitors into the Crimean region of Ukraine, as the administration sought to broker a diplomatic solution to the tense standoff over the occupation by Russian troops.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday will be reinforcing Washington's support for the new government in Kiev, as the U.S. and its top allies grapple with whether to slap Moscow with sanctions for its military takeover of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region.
Russia issued an ultimatum Monday, demanding that the crew of two Ukrainian warships in Crimea immediately surrender or be stormed and seized, a Ukrainian military spokesman said.
Russian troops said to be 16,000 strong tightened their stranglehold on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula Monday, openly defying the U.S. and the European Union and rattling world capitals and stock markets.
The U.S and major allies strained on Monday to rally a strong Western front to persuade Russia to step back from a military takeover of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region. But several acknowledged there are few options beyond already-threatened economic and diplomatic penalties, and critics said administration efforts were too little, too late after years of pressing for friendlier relations with Moscow.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden urged a top Russian official Monday to withdraw troops from Ukraine, even as Russia defended its use of military force in the Crimean Peninsula.
President Obama warned Russia on Monday of possible U.S. sanctions over its military land grab in Ukraine, but Moscow brushed aside international threats, tightening its stranglehold on Crimea and calling audaciously for a national unity government in Kiev.
President Vladimir Putin knows there is little the West can do to get him to reverse his mobilization in Crimea, or to stop him from sending additional troops into other parts of Ukraine. But trade sanctions against Russia could be painful, and there are ways for him to get what he wants - keeping Ukraine from slipping out of his grasp - without ratcheting up the military pressure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not happy. The government he backed in Ukraine has collapsed.
The Obama administration warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday not to react too aggressively to the fast-moving developments in Ukraine, where pro-Western demonstrators forced the nation's Moscow-backed president from power over the weekend.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow sees no sense in having a dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities because, in his view, they kowtow to radical nationalists.
"The so-called interim government isn't independent, it depends, to our great regret, on radical nationalists who have seized power with arms," he said at a news conference.