Biden vows for more sanctions against Russia
Josh Lederman, AP – March 18, 2014
Vice President Biden warned Russia on Tuesday that the U.S. and Europe would impose further sanctions in Moscow as it moved to annex part of Ukraine. So far, Putin has been undeterred by sanctions and visa bans levied by the U.S. and EU and has even responded by sanctioning U.S. leaders from visiting Russia. “Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab,” said Biden from Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine and Russia and has raised concerns that it could be the next country invaded by Putin should the international community be unable to persuade Russia to back down. Biden promised more sanctions would be coming, along new NATO training and exercises that will take place in Poland.
Ted Cruz urges to install missiles in Eastern Europe
Robert Costa, Washington Post – March 17, 2014
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) urged President Obama to install anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe as a counter to Russian actions in Ukraine, calling the administration’s sanctions not enough to respond to the crisis. “Beyond sanctions and aid to Ukraine, the most important thing we could be doing right now, with respect to Russia, is installing anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe,” Cruz said. Appeasement, argued Cruz, simply hasn’t worked with Russia in the past 5 years and argued to support commitments to the Ukrainians. The expanded military presence in Poland and Czech Republic is similar to a missile-defense plan proposed by President George W. Bush, which President Obama scrapped when coming into office in 2009.
Deterioration of U.S.-Russia Relations May Disrupt Iran Talks?
Alissa Rubi, NY Times – March 17, 2014
Tensions between the West and Russia over the Ukraine situation have cast a shadow over the Iran talks, which are supposed to take place today in Vienna. Although the talks have no direct connection to Ukraine, their success is determined on the solidarity between the P5 +1 partners—Russia, the U.S. and the other U.N. Security Council members including Germany. If Russia indicates that cooperation with the West has weakened, it will reduce pressure on Iran to make compromises. Since Western countries find Russia’s referendum on Crimea to be illegal, the situation for the Iran talks could seem more worrisome. An official said, “We hope that whatever happens in the days ahead…that any actions Russia subsequently takes will not put these negotiations at risk.”
Ex-Glenn Defense Marine Manager Will Plead Guilty
Karen Gullo, Bloomberg – March 14, 2014
Alex Wisidagama—a former government contracts manager at Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine— will apparently plead guilty to charges of conspiring to overcharge the Navy for servicing ships and submarines. Originally, Wisidagama pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea this week. Federal prosecutors have also charged a U.S. Navy Commander, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and the head of Glenn Defense Marine in taking part of a “bribery-kickback scheme” involving prostitutes. Glenn Defense Marine has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in goods/services for U.S. ships in at least a dozen countries in Asia.