Since Russia invaded the Ukraine's Crimea region over the weekend, new developments are coming in by the hour. The U.S. is now considering sanctions against Russia unless it pulls out of the Ukraine, and the rest of the West is growing more and more concerned about the increasing tensions in the region. Meanwhile, some are pondering whether the issue will become big enough to develop into World War III.
Russia denies sending Ukraine ultimatum
Today Russian media reported that the nation's navy gave the Ukraine's military an ultimatum to surrender at dawn. Moscow, however, denies that report, dismissing it as "total nonsense." Officials said they're accustomed to being accused of making such comments by the Ukrainian media.
Aleksandr Vitko, commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, was said to have given that ultimatum, saying that if the Ukraine didn't give up by 5 Tuesday morning, there would "be a real storm of subdivisions and units of Ukraine's military forces all over Crimea." That would be 10 p.m. tonight Eastern tie.
U.S. "likely" to sanction Russia
Meanwhile in Washington, the Obama administration said it was considering economic retaliation against Russia. Officials said it now looks likely that they will sanction the nation, saying they're beyond just considering sanctions. They also said they were preparing the documents right now.
Foreign ministers at the European Union held emergency sessions today in Brussels to talk about other possible steps against Russia unless it orders its troops back to its own bases in Crimea. One of the possibilities mentioned is suspending talks with Moscow about visa liberalization. Unlike the U.S., officials from Germany and France are saying that they're not considering sanctions. Instead, they intend to dialogue with Russia first. They did say, however, that sanctions "will become inevitable" if Russia doesn't change its position against the Ukraine.
Markets react to Russia, Ukraine tension
Wall Street and other global markets have been reacting to the tension between Russia and the Ukraine. Shares of Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) and other Russia-based companies plunged during regular trading. Stocks also fell in other markets around the world as investors considered the economic implications of a worsening situation in Russia.
European markets declined as much as 3% today while the Dow Jones Index fell more than 200 points.
Latest Tweets on Ukraine:
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) March 3, 2014
LATEST: Russians seize Ukrainian ferry, move troops in http://t.co/t70tuH8C1l
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 3, 2014
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) March 3, 2014