clear
Thursday February 11th, 2016 10:49PM

US, EU will react if Crimea annexed

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry is warning Russia that it will face an immediate, "very serious series" of steps from the United States and Europe if it annexes Ukraine's strategic Crimea region.

Speaking Thursday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia risks "massive" political and economic consequences if it refuses to soften its position, Kerry told a Senate committee that Moscow should expect the U.S. and European Union to take measures against it on Monday should it accept and act on the expected results of this weekend's referendum in Crimea.

Kerry was to leave Washington later in the day to meet Friday in London with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a last-ditch bid to avert a crisis over the referendum.

Crimeans are to vote on joining Russia on Sunday in a referendum that the U.S. and EU say violates Ukraine's constitution and international law. Russia has said it will respect the results of the referendum.

"There will be a response of some kind of the referendum itself and in addition if there is no sign of any capacity to be able to move forward and resolve this issue, there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday in Europe and here," Kerry said.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney echoed the tough line. "Should Russia continue down the path that it is currently on and move forward with an attempt to annex Crimea or to in other ways continue to violate Ukraine's sovereignty, there will no doubt be additional costs," he said.

Kerry said he planned to make clear how high the stakes are when he sees Lavrov in London.

"My hope is that they will come aware of the fact that the international community is really strong and united on this issue," he said. He said he had spoken to Lavrov before the hearing and that he hoped "reason would prevail." But he stressed there was no guarantee of that.

Kerry and Lavrov have spoken almost daily as the Ukraine crisis has unfolded but have yet to find any common ground.

He suggested that he would be pressing Lavrov for Russia to accept "something short of a full annexation" of Crimea but did not elaborate on what such a scenario might entail.

Still, Kerry sought to strike a conciliatory tone as he headed to meet Lavrov, telling lawmakers at a House hearing later Thursday that Ukraine should not have to choose between allying with the Western world and Russia in the East.

"We believe Russia has interests and has an ability to be able to be important to the development of Ukraine, and so does Europe," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "And there's no reason why they shouldn't look in both directions. We do. We look East, we look West, we look North, we look South. And I think it's very important to be careful about those kinds of limits."

In the meantime, Congress won't be able to authorize aid to Ukraine until after March 24 amid several Republican disagreements.

The Senate was unlikely to vote before leaving for recess Thursday evening on a bill approving $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and International Monetary Fund reforms. Four Republicans backed it as the Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-3 in favor Wednesday.

At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner urged the Senate anew Thursday to adopt House-approved legislation for the loans, without sanctions or IMF provisions. But many House Republicans reject expanding the IMF's lending capacity, which every other major country has approved. They say it increases U.S. taxpayer exposure; the counterargument is it immediately releases money for Ukraine.

Other Republicans oppose paying for the loans with unused military money.

Earlier, in Berlin, Merkel told German lawmakers that the European Union and other Western nations would soon freeze bank accounts and implement travel restrictions if Russia refuses to enter "negotiations that achieve results and aren't just a play for time."

If Moscow does not begin to "de-escalate" the situation, Merkel said the 28 EU members, the U.S. and other trans-Atlantic partners were prepared to take even stronger measures that would hit Russia economically.

"If Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, that will not only be a great catastrophe for Ukraine..." Merkel said in the nationally televised address. "It will cause massive damage to Russia, both economically and politically."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 1 day ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 3 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 6 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )