So much for de-escalating. From the Kremlin:
Vladimir Putin signed a decree "On the recognition of the Republic of Crimea." Full text of the Decree:
1. Given the will of the people of the Crimea on the referendum held on March 16, 2014, to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state.
2. This Decree shall enter into force on the date of its signing.
Surely this will precede Putin's own executive order recognizing Crimea as the latest member of the Russian Federation. And as for those "crippling" sanctions, via the FT, here is the locals reall think and why the Russian stock market is soaring as we reported earlier.
Moscow investment banker on US sanctions: "It's as innocuous as we'd hoped"
— Courtney Weaver (@courtneymoscow) March 17, 2014
One also wonders: how long until Russia freezes all assets of McDonalds restaurants operating in Russia.