World View: Kerry Threatens Sanctions Against Russia
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Kerry threatens sanctions against Russia, but 'nothing personal'
- Germany's Angela Merkel warns of a 'catastrophe' and sanction war
- Saudi cleric issues fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets
Kerry threatens sanctions against Russia, but 'nothing personal'
On Sunday, Ukraine's Crimea peninsula will hold a Russian-sponsored
referendum on whether Crimea should secede from Ukraine and join the
Russian Federation. With thousands of Russian troops in Crimea blockading all Ukrainian troops and arresting or beating anyone who
demonstrates against the referendum, it's pretty much a foregone
conclusion that the measure will pass. Russia's Duma is preparing
a constitutional change that will allow Crimea to join the Russian
With tens of thousands of Russian troops in Russia along the border
with eastern Ukraine, there is widespread fear that Russia will invade
the rest of Ukraine. Since Ukraine supplies almost all of the fresh
water, electricity, gas, and food that Crimea consumes, Russia's
president Vladimir Putin may well justify an invasion as being
necessary to guarantee that these supplies reach Crimea.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov, who apparently have become BFFs, met for six hours on
Friday, ending in disagreement. Lavrov said:
As to practical measures foreign countries could
take, we do not share a common view of the situation; disagreements remain but, of course, the conversation was useful.
Russia has and can have no plans to invade southeastern regions of
Ukraine. We assume that the rights of Russians, the rights of
Hungarians, the rights of Bulgarians and Ukrainians should
definitely be ensured and should be protected.
We have confirmed our stance stipulated repeatedly by the Russian
president that we will respect the declaration of the will of the
Crimean people during the coming referendum of March 16.
I'll be bold enough to assure you that sanctions are a
counter-productive instrument and if such a decision is taken in
Western capitals, it means it will be their decision. One thing
for sure is that this will not help mutual interests, business
interests, the interests of our partnership in
At the same press conference after the meeting, Kerry warned of "very
serious" consequences if Russia uses the referendum as a "back-door
annexation" of Crimea, including almost immediate economic sanctions
against Russia such as travel restrictions and asset seizures of
private Russian businessmen and officials close to Russian President
Vladimir Putin. Kerry said:
After much discussion, the foreign minister made it
clear that President Putin is not prepared to make any decision
regarding Ukraine until after the referendum on Sunday.
If the referendum takes place, there will be some sanctions.
There will be some response, let me put it that way.
I think, in fairness, Foreign Minister Lavrov is going to report
that proposal back to President Putin as he did all of the
proposals that we put on the table this afternoon. President
Putin will be well aware of all the options.
We are prepared to respect his interests and rights, and they can
be fully respected.
We hope President Putin will recognize that none of what we’re
saying is meant as a threat; it’s not meant in a personal
So the threat of sanctions is not a threat, and it's nothing personal.
Voice of Russia and ABC News
Germany's Angela Merkel warns of a 'catastrophe' and sanction war
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was not nearly as circumspect
as John Kerry. According to Merkel:
If Russia continues down the course of the past weeks,
it would not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine.
It would not only change the relationship of the European Union as
a whole with Russia. No, this would also cause massive damage to
Russia, economically and politically.
The first round of sanctions have already been announced –
postponement of various meetings.
If a second round is necessary, high-ranking Russian officials will
face EU visa restrictions and their EU-based bank accounts will be
The third round, if necessary, might freeze the assets and bank
accounts of politicians, civil servants, and military personnel,
possibly to include Russian businessmen.
In response, Russia has threatened to "seize property, assets and
accounts of companies in the United States and the countries that
adopt the sanctions against us," according to a Russian official.
Russia could also cancel big contracts with European companies. For
example, Moscow could drop its proposed purchase of French naval
Some reports suggest that Russia is transferring its Treasury bond
holdings out of the Fed in order to protect them from an asset
freeze. Deutsche Welle and Deutsche Welle and WSJ
Saudi cleric issues fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets
A Saudi cleric named Saleh al-Fawzan has issued a fatwa against
all-you-can-eat buffets in Saudi Arabia. "Whoever enters the buffet
and eats for 10 or 50 riyals without deciding the quantity they will
eat is violating Sharia (Islamic) law," he said. Twitter users mocked
the fatwa mercilessly: "What is going on in this world?! i am
speechless really! Fatwa prohibits 'All You Can Eat' offers" and
"Fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets. You can't even parody this
stuff. And we're supposed to respect it?" International Business Times
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