Russia seems to have Crimea, locked up, as a part of their country.
How far will the US and EU pursue this issue, after the Crimea province and Ukraine leadership is settled and stable?
Is this about energy only, or are we really concerned about the people?
Crimea votes on joining Russia amid soaring tensions
Crimeans voted Sunday in a referendum to join former political master Russia as tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Ukraine's new leaders and the West have branded as "illegal" the vote in the strategic Black Sea peninsula that has been under the de facto control of Russian forces for weeks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Moscow pull back its forces to their bases in Crimea in return for constitutional reforms in Ukraine to protect minority rights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would respect the outcome of the referendum, but the European Union condemned the vote and said it would be deciding on sanctions against Russia on Monday.
"As Ukrainians take the necessary political measures going forward, Russia must reciprocate by pulling forces back to base, and addressing the tensions and concerns about military engagement," the official said.
Ukraine's interim President Oleksandr Turchynov, who last month replaced ousted pro-Kremlin leader Viktor Yanukovych after three months of protests, also accused Russia of fanning tensions in eastern Ukraine as a way of justifying an invasion.
"The result has been pre-planned by the Kremlin as a formal justification to send in its troops and start a war that will destroy people's lives and the economic prospects for Crimea," he said.
The European Union said the referendum was "illegal and illegitimate" and again condemned Moscow's "unprovoked violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty.
While the West has been powerless to stop Crimea's annexation, Russia faces a painful round of sanctions against top officials that Washington and EU nations are set to unveil on Monday and it could be ostracised or even ejected from the Group of Eight (G8) leading world powers.
McCain: 'Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country'
Sen. John McCain returned from a trip to Ukraine on Sunday, calling for "a fundamental re-assessment" of the United States' relationship with Russian Vladimir Putin.
“No more reset buttons," McCain told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union." Treat him for what he is. That does not mean re-ignition of the Cold War.”
McCain, who has been critical of the Obama administration's response to the crisis in Crimea, said the White House should target Russia's oil exports.
"Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” McCain said. “It’s kleptocracy, it’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy. And so economic sanctions are important. Get some military assistance to Ukrainians, at least so they can defend themselves. Resume the missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Look at Moldova and Georgia, both of whom are occupied by Russian troops as we speak, a path toward membership in NATO.”
Speaking in Kiev with a delegation of fellow U.S. senators on Saturday, McCain called for the United States to provide long-term military support — both "lethal and non-lethal" equipment — to Ukraine. "[It is] the right and decent thing to do," McCain said.
"Crimea has exposed the disturbing lack of realism that has characterized our foreign policy under President Obama," McCain wrote. "It is this worldview, or lack of one, that must change."
McCain added: "Crimea must be the place where President Obama recognizes this reality and begins to restore the credibility of the United States as a world leader."