Japan’s escalating tensions with China in recent years spurred Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to resolve decades-old differences with another neighbor -- Russia. Just as those efforts offered promise, the Crimea crisis hit.
Ukraine told Russia that a military invasion would be an act of war following a vote by lawmakers in Moscow to give President Vladimir Putin the right to send troops after pro-Russian forces seized control of Crimea.
The European Union imposed a second round of sanctions targeting 12 Russian political and military officials involved in Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine. As a previous step, the EU imposed sanctions on 21 Ukrainian and Russian individuals.
U.S. President Barack Obama imposed financial sanctions on several billionaire associates and top aides of President Vladimir Putin as he increased pressure on Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s reaction will be “reciprocal and swift” after Russia barred nine U.S. lawmakers and officials in retaliation against earlier measures.