Congressional Research Service. July 18, 2014.

Many view Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine on March 18, 2014, and efforts to
destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine as the culmination of long-standing Russian resentment of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian leaders have claimed they have the right to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots” (those linked by language, culture, or ethnicity) in neighboring countries. In this context, Ukraine may have a particularly important place in Russian history. Ethnic Russians make up over 17% of Ukraine’s population, concentrated in the east and south of the country, and Russian officials have warned that they are willing to intervene militarily to protect them. [PDF format, 2 pages].

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The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. July 16, 2014.

“We live in a complex world and at a challenging time.  And none of these challenges lend themselves to quick or easy solutions, but all of them require American leadership.  And as Commander-in-Chief, I’m confident that if we stay patient and determined, that we will, in fact, meet these challenges.” [HTML format].

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Spokesperson. July 14, 2014.

The United States’ goal throughout the crisis in Ukraine has been to support a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified, secure both politically and economically, and able to determine its own future. Therefore, we support ongoing dialogue among the foreign ministers from Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia to work toward a sustainable ceasefire by all parties in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine that would build toward a lasting peace. We should emphasize, however, that our ultimate goal is not just a temporary halt to violence. We want Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and occupying Crimea, a part of Ukraine’s territory, and allow all of the people of Ukraine to come together to make their own decisions about their country’s future through a democratic political process. [HTML format].

Can Sanctions Stop Putin?

On June 4, 2014, in Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, by editor3

The Brookings Institution. June 3, 2014.

As the Ukraine crisis continues, further rounds of sanctions on Russia are being discussed. But the question that still hasn’t been answered is, do sanctions work? For some, the question seems unnecessary. Clearly, sanctions work. Capital is flowing out of Russia, the ruble is losing value, Russian companies have less access to foreign credits, and the country’s GDP is falling. [Note: contains copyrighted material] [PDF format, 7 pages]

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Council on Foreign Relations. May 19, 2014.

John E. Herbst, who served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, says Ukrainians will likely proceed with presidential elections as scheduled on May 25, but he predicts pro-Russian separatists will try to disrupt the vote. In the event of disrupted voting, Herbst says Washington should be prepared to mount far more sweeping sectoral sanctions against Russia. The aim of Russian president Vladimir Putin, he says, is to prevent Ukraine from following a Western orientation and developing a democratic society but it’s not clear if he is willing to sacrifice his economy for those goals. [Note: contains copyrighted material] [HTML format]