Germany, USA Turn Up Pressure on Putin

Obama promises new sanctions against Russia, while German Chancellor Merkel declares G-8 format dead.
3:00 | 03/20/14

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Transcript for Germany, USA Turn Up Pressure on Putin
I'm -- company -- ABC news digital breaking news report President Obama just moments ago in making his first public statements -- pro Russian forces began more aggressive maneuvers on the ground in Crimea yesterday. Storming to enable basis taking hostage -- releasing Ukraine's navy commander. And as the president -- -- sanctions on the way and that announcement -- just a short time ago also today German chancellor. -- Merkel with some harsh words -- speaking in Berlin Berlin. She declared quote the G-8 doesn't exist anymore -- at a summit nor the format as such Russia. Was scheduled to host that meeting this coming -- Sochi but. As that statement was coming also on the heels of president's declaration today in that statement. Saying that the G summit the G-7 summit. Would continue I want to bring in ABC's outs mark -- who is on the ground in Crimea and Alex thanks for joining us appreciate it. More sanctions on the way from the US it seems that from European leaders as well what is the end game. All clearly the goal of the European Union and of the White House is to -- witness. -- Russia not only politically but economically this is -- a third round of sanctions that we've seen -- put on a number of Russian officials but now that has been expanded. 22 more officials to a bank to what president of called key sectors. Of the Russian economy that comes after their work travel bans and asset freezes. But the big question that everyone's not being he's hearing in Crimea -- in the United States senior in the European Union is. To what extent is president couldn't care to it what what is the breaking point when does president what do you do when mr. added. Responding to these sanctions because so -- shown absolutely no indication. That these sanctions are having any sort of fact after President Obama announced a lot ground extension they were essentially lopped off by those. Who were who were targeted including a lot of -- closest advisors is that prime minister. So so far there's nothing to indicate that. This newest round of sanctions would have. A much more different but the but it -- -- really too early to tell at this point we need to -- who's been targeted. To what extent. Which bank had been targeted which sectors of the economy have been targeted how much step in by Russia and much as I'm on the flip side of that. As much as that the visit proper officials look like a -- At some point goes really will start biting. And jovial either of those who have been targeted -- conditions responding people around the world. Who do business with Russia responding. Themselves whether they want that to continue and that the goal of the -- out in the European Union is to isolate Russia. And pressure them into. Not so we were -- from Crimea because that is situated. But but to dissuade -- -- from advancing eastern Ukraine or elsewhere. It may Apple's. Given the fact that there was -- first round of sanctions and now second and possibly third round of sanctions as well Natalie from the United States -- -- as well from European countries. Is there anything beyond sanctions that the west can do expect to get -- to pull back to pull out of that region. And immediate the sanctions are really the economic side -- the diplomatic side uses sort of severing ties and we so we started seeing the beginning of that with -- -- Angela Merkel saying that the G-8 is dead and reducing its energy seven. And that's summit will not go ahead now in Sochi -- there are further diplomatic measures take could be. Take into two further isolate Russia a one of them will be withdrawing the ambassador right now we actually don't happen about -- In Moscow the -- -- Canadians for example a party went on there about this -- there are several more steps. -- they could be taking this sort of escalate as diplomatic isolation. So so we haven't reached sort of the pinnacle yet. Obviously there's always the question of military intervention by the European Union and -- out -- that made it very clear that they don't plants -- Any sort of boots on the ground -- the entire this year is going to be political diplomatic and economic. Alex they would as a wanna go -- -- of the White House where ABC's -- Sonny standing by outside where that. Statement was -- -- just moments ago in -- clearly this statement. Not scheduled but obviously in response to the latest movements yesterday in Ukraine. Well Dan there's no question that tensions are escalating and the president's statement don't forget he only made on his first sanctions announcement only four days ago so this is. So dramatic and new and they hope that it sticks specifically what I was focusing on where the banks. He has has never said that before targeting Russian individuals and banks that could. Hurt business -- but he said look this is not a preferred outcome this could hurt the global economy what the president really is trying to do here -- minute -- officials say is -- yet another message to European officials. To get on board and get in the act -- this as well but. This -- ending the week now with a much. More escalated situation -- we began again. Just let me ask you about that about the timing of that because clearly it is calculated move when you have sanctions that have been coming at the beginning of the week and now these sanctions just been announced this morning. We've got to lag time of say two or three days and as we just heard from Alice mark -- on the ground in Crimea there. These kind of sanctions actually takes time in order to have any kind of impact and it had an effect on it. We did lose Jeff -- try to bring him back but outs -- -- throw that question to you that about the timing. Given the fact that there is just such a small increments such a small window for those initial sanctions to take effect. The president has already gone ahead and edition and an added additional sanctions. -- really be credited the fast -- that we're seeing here on the ground remember it was just less than three weeks ago. That Russian forces came in overnight and started taking over the key installations here Crimea airports government buildings like the parliament. And very quickly -- spread out over the entire Crimea peninsula -- seat -- all of it. Men and that happens very very quickly and now really the only remnants of any sort of Ukrainian controller these few military bases. -- still under Ukrainian military control we saw as you mentioned to -- taking yesterday. So that that's why -- escalation are coming so quickly so fast. One right behind the other and really the idea I believe the goal of the White House right now. Is not to get the -- -- the pullback from crime yet that's simply not going to happen Richard if you you know President Obama was just talking about. A people's right to determine their future well that's exactly president Putin's point as well there's a question of self determination here. -- President Putin argued that not only is Crimea. Historically. -- part of Russia but the people here have voted overwhelmingly. To be a part of Russia so. Let's assume debt they Crimea is is off the table and really what they do White House is trying to do with this latest round of sanctions today to help president -- Building and think about going eastern Ukraine -- were seeing. More protests reduced some of them have turned deadly. You have pro Russian forces there -- acts. That the Russian military intervened -- accusation. That that that Russian Fischler in their trying to stir up trouble. So -- to the warning to the Kremlin saying don't go into eastern Ukraine in the end and also bolstered you know giving confidence to our allies. In Eastern Europe or NATO allies giving -- confidence that that the US will back them should President Putin -- any design other countries as well. Protests and demonstrations aside it's happening in the eastern part of Ukraine there what about the military were seen forces are -- troops move closer to the border with Russia. Yeah absolutely receive no well at the Ukrainian military is at its highest alert level -- -- had been for quite sometime received thousands of Ukrainian troops pulled up we've seen a moving closer. To the border with Crimea. But there really isn't any sense that they Ukrainian military want to engage with the Russian military there obviously fully aware of -- But might the strength of the use of the Russian military to trade and alongside each other for years a lot of their officers. Even know each other and so while -- been extraordinarily tense situation you don't get the impression that ukrainians. Are in any sort of fighting mood they obviously when -- issues to deal back in yet trying to get there. -- government up and running and -- -- go around Ukrainian bases here we just left one. People nobody -- Ukrainian commanders talk about not Surette. Hearing we took note we have to defend eBay has. But this same time they're not really willing to put up a fight when -- when beat. These bases are storms by the Russian forces the ukrainians essentially put down their weapons then walked out -- there isn't really -- Ukrainian military is looking to engage. By itself against the Russian military. And -- look at a live shot air support Air Force One you could see Marine One land in the background the president onboard after making that statement is -- short time ago about additional sanctions being imposed on Russia. -- senior officials there on a bank -- key sectors. Of the Russian economy outs let me ask you about that on the economic angle how much to the Russians need Ukraine and vice Versa. Well -- we -- -- they've very close economic prosperity. A longstanding trade ties and remember that's how this all got started there is a question have. A signing a trade deal with the European Union -- around fifteen billion dollars. At the last moments Russia came in is that what you -- that money. The president president Yanukovych signed -- not really what sparked off these protests. People in the western part of the country. Wanting to to move closer to Europe not just because they feel culturally closer to Europe but. They want closer economic ties. We have the European Union as well. So but this is really debate question because -- the European Union and the United States put these put this -- regarding Russia economically. We have to wonder to what extent can Russia -- and right now. It did until now they've sort of been lobbying and often and saying you know you can't really isolate -- -- any sort of sanction that you put on -- Will sort of spring back to you but -- -- the wideout -- he believed that there is that there is a breaking point there is appointed to which. They can -- so many sanctions along with the European Union on Russia. That not only President Putin will -- but you've got advisors around him billionaires around -- -- -- -- -- your document -- in -- -- start from the Kremlin. And saying you know we really -- -- -- to loosen up and become the ease back a little bit because otherwise. We're going to be in a real they expect an. Alex put a face on this you're able to get around on the streets in -- there. What has been the mood of the people that you've been talking to the crowds that have been gathering. As these tensions have been building and as obviously there's been more international focus on what's going on there. Well I really think there there's this perception that that that Russia has taken over this place to some extent against this will aggressively -- The vast majority of the people who we've met are fully support this Russian take over and see a lot of these. These maps to Russian soldiers -- some extended as figures hitting your driver on the streets here you have Russian flag. Flying out of car windows you can drive -- Lenin square -- -- about there's been staged air for days with. Concert a traditional Russian music. We were out in in the port serious about the -- yesterday and I spoke to route 21 man who said he no he's they're very excited -- -- very happy. Obviously there are some concerns we've seen long lines coming out of banks people uncertain about their economic future there are some questions -- how this is gonna work. Bureaucratic -- -- what does that mean for our phone lines what does that mean for our Internet. Order to meet our license plate but in their only small concerns in the eyes of many devout majority of the people. We met do want to become a part of Russia do you want -- to get that Russia and citizenship. So many of the people who we met -- there were born. -- Soviet times it felt like they were given. That Ukraine unjustly. When -- are error became part of Ukraine until -- 1991 when when Ukraine became independent it's so now a lot them feel like. They're going home there is of course the vocal minority of Crimea and who don't necessarily want to be a part of Russia but. General generally the mood here is is one of of excitement -- and one of gentle lapping it. There is no there is no sense at all then there it they that the clock will get turned back then. No not really in fact a lot of people feel like it's moving forward I spoke to a mechanic yesterday was that the becoming part of bigger country like Russia. Will mean more opportunities for him and for other -- -- and be GDP per capita is higher in Russia based -- Life in any in Russia and as bad as an upgrade from their own the economy here. Is in shambles 40% of it is based on hand handouts from Kiev. There's a high level of corruption here Cole and the vast majority are a huge percentage -- Our economy -- economy is based on tourism a lot of which is off the books and so it's it's it's highly corrupt -- -- taxable. So -- -- guess who's joining a strong country are not just politically but economically so they -- as an improvement on their lives. ABC's -- -- -- on the ground in Crimea outs we thank you for that certainly appreciate of course they say as always and as we its other the president boarding Air Force One on his way to Florida. After making an announcement earlier today about initial sanctions being imposed. On Russia and -- primarily more senior officials in Russia banks and sectors of the Russian economy given the growing tensions and escalation. In the Crimea region -- state with the latest on this story by downloading the ABC news -- Star in the story for exclusive updates on the go. Now I'm down Cutler -- New York with -- ABC news digital breaking news report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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