Here in The Washington Times, we learn that Vladimir Putin regrets having to intervene in Ukraine.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament that the European Union and other Western nations would freeze Russians’ bank accounts and implement travel restrictions.
“If Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, that will not only be a great catastrophe for Ukraine,” Mrs. Merkel said in the nationally televised address reported by The Associated Press. “It will cause massive damage to Russia, both economically and politically.”
In New York, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk condemned Russia’s “military aggression” against his country, but told the U.N. Security Council he doesn’t think Moscow wants a war.
Mr. Obama met Mr. Yatsenyuk at the White House on Wednesday. Russia does not recognize the interim leaders in Kiev.
Mr. Putin, meanwhile, told a meeting of an advisory council of top Russian defense and security officials that Russia had “regrettably” been drawn into the events in Ukraine.
“We can’t ignore the developments around Ukraine, Crimea and everything related to that uneasy problem, which, I want to underline, has emerged through no fault of ours,” he said, according to The AP.
Western officials say the planned referendum in the Crimean Peninsula is a violation of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution.
“I don’t think anybody can believe that a hastily put together, rushed referendum taking place under the imprint of 20,000-plus troops and all that has happened without debate, without opportunity is a genuine referendum,” Mr. Kerry told the Senate panel.