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West Warns Russia of 'Very Serious' Consequences

Published: March 14, 2014 (Issue # 1801)



  • President Putin met with permanent members of Russia's Security Council on Thursday.
    Photo: kremlin.ru

As Sunday's referendum in Crimea looms, the West has multiplied its diplomatic efforts to prevent Russia's annexation of the peninsula while preparing sanctions in case Russia does not backtrack.

Talk of sanctions against Russia come amid President Vladimir Putin's efforts to deflect his country's blame for the crisis.

In a meeting with the permanent members of Russia's Security Council on Thursday, which was attended by high-level Russian dignitaries including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin said Russia was not to be blamed for the crisis in Ukraine.

Putin also told national Paralympic association officials in Sochi that Russia was not "an instigator" of the crisis in Crimea and thanked the delegations for keeping the games politics-free.

While Russian authorities have been downplaying blame and anticipating the addition of an 84th federal subject to the country, the U.S. is busy intensifying its eleventh-hour diplomatic efforts to prevent Russia from annexing the Ukrainian republic.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in London on Friday at the request of U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss proposals on how to resolve the crisis.

On Thursday, Kerry told a Senate committee that Moscow should expect immediate consequences if it accepts and acts on the upcoming referendum.

"If there is no sign of Russian compromise, there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday in Europe and here," Kerry said in comments carried by The Associated Press.

According to a U.S. State Department press statement, Kerry's meeting with Lavrov, their third in the last two weeks, will serve as a stage to "continue to reaffirm the U.S.' unwavering support for Ukrainian sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference or provocation by Russia."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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