Transcript for White House: Crimea Referendum 'Violates International Law'
The latest on the high-stakes showdown between Russia and the west. Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. The U.S. Says that vote is illegal and will start to impose sanctions on Russia today. Martha Raddatz has more. The president had a blunt phone call with president Putin last night. Reporter: Blunt indeed. He said this vote is illegal and will never be recognized by the U.S. For now, Putin got what he wanted from this vote. The question is, what more does he want? Jubilation this morning for the overwhelming majority of cry M crimeans who voted to join Russia. I'm Russian. I want to join Russia. It's one of the most important days in all my life. Reporter: But the white house is rejecting the referendum, saying it was administered under threats of violence and indim digs a from a Russian military invex that violates international law. The U.S. Is all but promising to hit Putin where it hurts. Vowing economic and diplomatic sanctions. I think he marched in because he didn't believe the united States and Europe would take a chunk of flesh out of his economy. Reporter: If if the european union joins in on sanctions, it could mean major pressure on put on the withdraw his forces back into Russia. If on Monday, we announce a set of crippling sanction with the european unions, I think that sends a strong message to Putin. Reporter: And U.S. Officials insist, Russia will not overtake Ukraine without a fight. One they say could turn into a long and bloody fight. The fear, of course, is that put listen send troops further into Ukraine, which could prompt a civil war. Russians are not doing anything to calm the situation, with one of its most prominent news anchors saying overnight, that Russia remains the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S. Into radio active dust. Not exactly helpful, George. I'll say. That was shocking. You see rhetoric like that, and the moves that Putin has made so far, the real question will be can the sanctions make a difference? The sanction would target Russian and Ukrainian officials that were part of the move into crimea. The sanctions would escalate if putting ma iin makes more provocative moves. To josh with the other top stories. Two significant Earth ghax the pacific, causing more than 100,000 people to evacuate the
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