Crimea votes to join Russia…What now?

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SIMFEROPOL, UKRAINE – Crimea applied to join Russia Monday following a controversial referendum over the weekend in which nearly 97% of Crimeans voted to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

While Crimea’s still celebrating its victory, right next door in Kiev many are still mourning the loss of friends and family members who were killed in protests last month.

Just because the ballots have been counted doesn’t mean all is said and done.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister says there will be consequences for Crimean leaders who supported the referendum and the US and the European Union have straight up said, the international community won’t recognize the outcome of the referendum, regardless of what the voters decided.

So, President Obama announced sanctions for those responsible for the crisis. The U.S. is freezing assets and banning travel for Russian officials believed to be responsible for what’s unfolded in Ukraine. On top of that, the E.U. announced sanctions against 21 top officials from Ukraine and Russia.

The Russian Government is expected to tackle the issue of annexation of Crimea by week’s end. Meanwhile, folks in Kiev are still nervous about the long road ahead.

Just because we’re far away doesn’t mean we can’t offer some help. An Abilene liquor store owner is protesting the Russian invasion by taking Russian vodka off his shelves and replacing it with Ukrainian vodka.

Take that, Russia.

Because if sanctions from the international community don’t work, the least we can do is give Putin a swift kick-in-the-glass.

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