Putin Fighting for Ukrainian Loyalties
Russia’s leader has had everyone on tenterhooks wondering how far he’d go to keep Crimea under his thumb. Peninsula lawmakers helped him out, green-lighting a March 16 referendum on a proposed break from Ukraine. Ukrainian leaders say they won’t recognize the vote, and President Obama has said that it would violate both Ukraine’s constitution and international law. Western leaders are urging Putin to resolve the crisis through diplomatic means and allow international monitors for the region. But Russia seemed unmoved, giving another thumbs-down to Ukraine’s new leadership, which it deems illegitimate. The week ended where it started: in unknown territory.