Two weeks ago, President Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would face “additional costs” if it didn’t stop fanning the separatist fire in eastern Ukraine.
Then on Friday, Russia sent tanks, rocket launchers, and other weapons to separatists in eastern Ukraine, according to the State Department. The day after, Russian-backed militants shot down a Ukrainian military plane, killing the 49 people aboard — the deadliest event since unrest began February.
And on Monday, Russia cut off its gas supply to Ukraine.
The Ukraine crisis has quickly escalated in a matter of days — yet again. But whether the recent events are enough for more U.S. action against Russian provocation in the coming weeks remains unclear.
A National Security Council spokeswoman said Monday that the U.S. continues to urge Russia to pull its support from separatist groups and stop the flow of arms across the border. For now, it looks as if the Obama administration is sticking to its usual tactic in this crisis — playing the wait-and-see game as Putin makes promises to disengage from the region.
“The mere fact that some of the Russian soldiers have moved back from the border and that Russia is now destabilizing Ukraine through surrogates, rather than overtly and explicitly, does not mean that we can afford three months, or four months, or six months, of continued violence and conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Obama said during the G-7 summit at the beginning of this month.
But talk of sanctions is especially unlikely to come in the immediate weeks. All eyes are on the deteriorating situation in Iraq right now, a reality that buys Russia time. With the administration distracted by events in the Middle East, Putin may be thinking he has additional wiggle room for more meddling in Ukraine.
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.