1. Last time we visited the world drama queens, Russian President Vladimir Putin…
2. …had totally gotten the best of President Obama on the world stage during the Syrian crisis.
3. But since then, relations between the two had stabilized.
4. Vladimir Putin had just finished hosting the Sochi Olympics…
5. …when one of his best friends, Viktor Yanukovych, president of Ukraine, fled his country in shame after massive protests against him.
6. The protests were over the then-Ukrainian president’s decision to break off talks with the European Union and bring the country closer to Russia instead.
7. Putin was very upset that other nations would not want to be closer to Russia.
8. And was severely threatened by anti-government developments in Ukraine.
…as they served a huge blow to his dreams of remaking a Russia-led bloc of allies and strengthened the prospect of a European-style democracy on his border.
9. But the destabilization of the region provided Putin with a big opportunity.
The weak, new government that replaced Yanukovych could not defend the nation’s borders. This means Putin might be able to occupy some Ukrainian land.
10. On March 1, Putin asked Russia’s parliament for permission to use Russian troops to “defend” Crimea and Ukraine.
Crimea has a majority ethnic Russian population with strong Russian ties.
11. On Sunday, Putin sent thousands of armed Russian troops into Crimea and met no resistance.
The troops surrounded Ukrainian military bases and took over local municipalities and government buildings.
12. Pro-Russian demonstrations also popped up in the region, although reports point to many of the protesters being shipped in from Russia.
13. This Russian occupation was in clear violation of international law and made Obama very sad.
14. Obama’s immediate response was to call on Russia to voluntarily pull out of the region.
Or else there will be “costs.”
16. Now Obama is threatening economic and political sanctions against Russia…
17. …which is particularly difficult given the administration’s overt attempt to repair relations with Putin over the last five years.
18. Obama also has the extremely difficult task of rallying other European and Western leaders into a coalition against Russia.
19. Which they may be reluctant to do since so much of Europe’s energy supply comes from Russia.
20. Obama has sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev to facilitate the first steps for Ukraine to receive Western financial assistance.
21. But there are no signs that Putin has any intention of backing down…
22. …or that his occupation will end with just the Crimea region.
Since his powers voted on by the Russian parliament extend to ALL of Ukraine.
23. Meanwhile, the West is left, once again, begging for a peaceful solution…
- Britain marks 10 years since 52 people were killed in terrorist attacks in London.
- European leaders are holding an emergency summit today to discuss Greece's debt crisis.
- The deadline for a deal on Iran's nuclear program was extended again, to the end of the week.
- Bill Cosby testified in 2005 that he obtained sedatives to give to women he wanted to have sex with, the AP reports.