Blinken: U.S. would not recognize Crimea secession

Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said Sunday that if Crimea votes to join Russia in a referendum next week, the United States would not recognize it.

"If there is a referendum and it votes to move Crimea out of Ukraine and to Russia, we won't recognize it and most of the world won't either," Blinken said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, has set a vote for next Sunday on whether the region should join Russia. Russia's presence in the region appears to be increasing.

Blinken also said Sunday that if Russia curbs international inspections of its nuclear weapons , it would constitute a "serious development." As The Washington Post reported, the Russian Defense Ministry said it would consider halting inspections in response to threats of sanctions.

"We've seen those reports. The Russians haven't said anything to us about that directly. We haven't seen any change in their practices. Obviously that would be serious development. Inspections are an important part of arms controls agreements," Blinken said.

Blinken defended the U.S. response to the situation in Crimea including the pressure the Obama administration has applied on Russia.

"With regard to Russia, in coordination with our allies, we've imposed significant sanctions on Russia, and that's already exerting a cost. We've seen Russian markets go down substantially, the ruble go down, and investors sitting on the fence," Blinken said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Blinken said that President Obama has invited the prime minister of Ukraine to huddle this week in Washington about the situation in the region.

"He has invited the Ukrainian prime minister, [Arseniy] Yatsenyuk, to come to the White House on Wednesday to further demonstrate that support and to consult with him," Blinken said.

 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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Sean Sullivan · March 9, 2014

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