Last week, an article from The Telegraph (UK), on sanctions to be imposed upon Russia if Crimea is annexed:
Russia risks a wave of capital flight and a shattering economic crisis as the West prepares a package of sanctions over the seizure of Crimea.Will Russia cut off the gas? She has threatened to do so to the Ukraine, but not to Europe ... so far.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spelled out the danger for Russia in a speech that silenced pro-Kremlin voices in her own coalition and left no doubt that Europe is now fully behind the US on punitive measures.
“If Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, that will not only be a great catastrophe for Ukraine. It will cause massive damage to Russia, both economically and politically,” she said. “None of us wants it to come to this, but we are determined to act. Let me be absolutely clear; the territorial integrity of Ukraine is not up for discussion.”
The West has threatened visa bans and an asset freeze on individuals as early as Monday unless Russia steps back from the brink on the annexation of Crimea. This now looks certain since Russian troops are continuing to dig in across the peninsula before this Sunday’s vote on secession. “It can get ugly fast if the wrong choices are made, and it can get ugly in multiple directions,” said John Kerry, US Secretary of State.
The US and the EU will escalate to “additional and far-reaching” measures if the picture deteriorates, a likely outcome since Ukraine’s premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk has vowed to resist any loss of sovereign soil.
Russia has threatened to retaliate with “symmetrical sanctions” but Tim Ash, from Standard Bank, said it is a one-sided contest that Moscow cannot win. “Russia is facing the entire West. Its economy is already very weak and this could end up being as bad as 2008-2009, when GDP contracted by 9pc,” he said.
Russia cannot suspend oil and gas exports without cutting off its own source of foreign revenue. Any such move would destroy its credibility as a supplier of energy, accelerating Europe’s long-term switch to other sources.
We now know that the "referendum" will most likely result in overwhelming to join Russia. Well, no wonder when it was being framed in Russia vs Nazis, as in the billboard below:
|Billboard explains how Crimea referendum is being framed: Russia vs. the Nazis (Source: Washington Post)|
New Zealand will not recognise the result of today's referendum on the status of Crimea, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.
"This referendum has been organised hastily, under the threat of force, and without any prior efforts to consult or negotiate a settlement consistent with the Constitution of Ukraine," he said.
And, the joke of the day from a Russian news source that cannot be accessed at this point (the server is overloaded or down or something):
Crimean referendum at 'gunpoint' is a myth - intl observers. From the RT blog (a Russian blog).
Note the other article which I thought was ironic: Gunmen storm Crimea Hotel full of reporters on eve of referendum.
That's how this whole thing is operating - Russia is insisting we all believe her version of events. Well, that's not going to happen, not with the internet. The message cannot be controlled to the extent that everyone will just go along with an expansion of Russia at the cost of neighbouring countries.