(AP/Boston Globe) One by one, President Barack Obama’s warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be speeding up efforts to formally stake his claim to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
In the week since Obama first declared there would be ‘‘costs’’ if Putin pressed into Crimea, Russian forces have taken control of the region and a referendum has been scheduled to decide its future. Obama declared the March 16 vote a violation of international law, but in a region where ethnic Russians are the majority, the referendum seems likely to become another barrier to White House efforts to compel Putin to pull his forces from Crimea. […]
‘‘The referendum vote is going to serve for Putin, in his mind, as the credibility and legitimacy of Russia’s presence there,’’ said Andrew Kuchins, the director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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