Vice President Joe Biden is in Poland to discuss the tense situation between Ukraine and Russia. At the same time Russia President Vladimir Putin signed the decree officially recognizing Crimea’s independence from Ukraine and then claimed it as a Russia territory. Biden condemned the move.
“Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab, including what he said today,” Biden said in Poland, which shares a border with both Russia and Ukraine. “But the world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic behind those actions.”
On Monday, President Obama issued visa and asset sanctions against 11 Russians and Ukrainians, but Russia literally laughed them off. Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin went on Twitter and implied a prankster made the sanctions. Despite Russia’s actions, Biden said there will be more sanctions against Russia.
“It’s a simple fact that Russia’s political and economic isolation will only increase if it continues down this dark path,” Biden said, adding that virtually the entire world rejects the referendum in Crimea on Sunday that cleared the way for Russia to absorb it.
Biden will also meet with leaders from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, who are also concerned about Putin’s next move. The three countries along with Poland are members of NATO. Biden said the US is committed to their NATO allies and will make sure the countries will be secured.
The worries over Russia intensified in November 2013 after Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych turned down a trade deal with the European Union and accepted a $15 billion bailout from Russia. Pro-West Ukrainians stormed Independence Square in Kyiv and began a protest that lasted over three months. During the protests, Poland asked the US for 300 air troops and a dozen F-16 fighters for joint training.