Russian President Putin Expands Borders With the Annexation of Crimea

Vice President Biden says "the world has seen through Russia's action and has rejected the flawed logic behind those actions."
3:00 | 03/18/14

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Transcript for Russian President Putin Expands Borders With the Annexation of Crimea
This is a special room. On behalf of the conscience of people -- media. Has always been and remains and -- inalienable part of Russia. This conviction -- Was unshakable. Animals. Transferred from generation to generation. And with a roaring parliament before him Russian president -- recruit formally signed off. On the Russian annexation of Crimea. I'm Dan -- new -- and digital special report throwback to the bad old days today. As a Cold War between Moscow and the west heats up over Russia's decision to -- Crimea. Two it's now expanding borders vice president Joseph Biden firing back today calling it a land grab. V is rally NATO allies in Europe visiting with Poland's minister today. The world has seen through. As seen through Russia's action and is rejected the logic the flawed logic behind. Those actions. And so we are joined now from London by ABC news chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran Terry thanks for being wettest -- we appreciate it. First up how do you -- Russia's gains today against what it now faces in the form of western sanctions. Well there's no question this was an amazing day as is we just -- it. This was a day of glory for Russia you can't -- glory. But it is part of the lifeblood of any nation perhaps especially the Russian nation. And all of the trappings of the glory of the Kremlin. With Vladimir -- restoring Crimea. To the bosom of mother Russia Crimea which have been part of Russia since the eighteenth century. Given away to Ukraine by Khrushchev in the 1950s. There was -- pollutants and we've got it back its holy ground. It was an act a day of Ecstasy really for for Russia and for the people of Russia certainly for Vladimir -- But they now face the high cost of purchasing that that that that -- there's no question there will be sanctions. How those are calibrated what exactly the United States and Europe can do. Two punished her -- for what they view as an illegitimate land grab. Without hurting themselves you know a trade war might ensue but the old conventional wisdom in the trade wars everybody gets -- That's the job now for President Obama and western leaders how to they demonstrate to Vladimir Putin and future Russian leaders. That the cost for glory is too well and that's exactly what it wanted to ask you about because the taste of that glory could it be tainted potentially. By a trade war plane. It could although European it would just be devastated look -- the world economy still. So fragile after the catastrophe of the financial crises. 20082009. Europe is dependent on Russia for energy. It has spent the last forty years. Especially German Germany leader German's leader Germany's leaders. Angela Merkel in the previous chances are trying to bring Russia into the west trying to make it a normal country if you will. After the abnormality of the Soviet Union. They've put so much on the line that a trade war would really really hurt Europe. And and it would do some damage to the United States as well it would disrupt the world economy at a time when the world economy is as I say very fragile. So calibrate and just how far you can go with economic sanctions. Without. Touching off a trade war that collapses some European economies will be difficult that's said. Played a long game is what the the the advisors are beginning to say in all these countries. You don't have it you're never get in Crimea back in the Ukraine it certainly seems that's the case but the long game. Raising the cost year by year over the next decade. To do business in Russia that'll hurt that'll teach him -- -- On the long game but on the close on the ground -- we spent so much time measuring. The broader geo political angles of all of this what are the people though on the ground in Crimea when it dancing stops the celebrations stops. What do they expect. -- you know I was there when the Russian move happened and and there's no question that. A majority the people there are ethnic Russian Russian nationals they were Russian until nineteen. War and there is. Joy in the streets of -- as you -- that there are also a lot of people opposed to this they'll. They work how they were intimidated they. They're dropped their voices when they spoke to us about it but the majority of people perhaps I don't know was 95%. Given them. Nature that turn out. They're happy what do they expect they expect the moon. And everything else they think that mother -- gonna make things better for them. One of the other things for -- -- a very expensive. Acquisition. Crimea is a poor area is somewhat isolated there. It needs pretty much everything is deeply corrupt. You know just days as an example and things that I heard that that's pretty shocking you go to hospital got a bribe the doctors to take care bribes to doctors to take care. It is basket case that actually has no connection land connection. To Russia. Support is gonna have to begin by building of a very expensive bridge that's gonna take several years. All of Crimea is energy and water all the utilities come through Ukraine. And and so it is it's going to be -- much more difficult. Situation going forward -- I think those dancers in the streets expect 11 lady said to me. You are now you know my pension will go off. Really is these are the Russians are gonna pay for that -- -- will see. Speaking of the broader picture in Ukraine -- also spoke this morning about his future plans for the rest of the country. There's no way we want to damage you. To consult your national feeling -- of all this and respect the territorial integrity of Ukrainian. Stay -- Eagles who brought the integrity of Ukraine as a victim of that political dissidents. So Terry. Do we think despite the triumph was -- that Putin is being careful to make sure everyone knows he has no further plans to escalate this crisis. Is that a believable statement. You know -- -- that is the 64000. Dollar question here what else does Vladimir -- war and -- I think all bets are off right now given what we've seen from him over the past. Month -- so. That empowers him to he's he's the big guy in the corner of the room with a gun and you don't know what he's gonna do so he's got everybody's attention and respect. That said I think you're right there there is this pause right now. There's Russian troops on the border. But a major war with Ukraine that would be mass it would it would be very difficult thing. Not to win there militarily but to deal with the at the aftermath. That's -- I think -- long game here his long game is to make sure that that Ukraine never does become a full. Member of the family of western democracies. He is -- is to destabilize. With those troops on the border with stage provocations. Inside Ukraine. Perhaps with with to -- training paramilitaries. Or recruiting a secessionist Russian party and and funding it secretly -- and openly. To turn Ukraine in two. Almost an ungovernable state so that perhaps at one point the Russians in Ukraine are there are many. Will rise up and say please come help us now mother Russia. That said one of the things that he is also done -- is with this move. He invigorated. Ukrainian patriotism. It was something that that. Wasn't that strong before now in -- have and elsewhere throughout Ukraine. They know -- ukrainians. And if you looked at the people who voted in that referendum which much of the world -- -- was illegitimate the other day most the -- Younger people even in Crimea said I was born in Ukraine. I didn't want to go back to Moscow. They didn't vote and they're gonna have to reassess there options so. You know what does he do I think he he he he he's not finished with Ukraine at a military intervention probably not in the cards right. We see the smiles we see some of the tears from this morning's announcement and as you know Terry. The theatrics of politics can sometimes have and increasing an overwhelming. Influence on the outcome but the scenes today in the -- roaring approval for food -- spoken he signed a decree. Bringing Crimea in the Russian Federation obviously very emotional but who is the intended audience. I think the primary audience. It is Russia. This guy right now is riding as high as any world leader has in a long long time. You know Russia is a struggling country. People die earlier there every your life spans are shrinking. In Russia every year it's a poor country in many parts of its its fast and and much of it is still under developed. As they say you can't eat glory and pride but it sure does feel good and Vladimir Putin today. Really. Stood there before his country the intended audience and said. Whatever our struggles. We are not. Going to be pushed around on the world stage we are a glorious country still. You know this is the man who called the collapse of the Soviet Union -- greatest geopolitical catastrophe the twentieth century. And and he has set out. To undo some of that not to restore Soviet totalitarianism. Although we certainly choked off freedom plenty in Russia. But to restore the glory and the territory. To some extent of Russia and that's. That's his audience was was Russians. Politically distant but geographically close vice president Joseph Biden doing a tour of former Soviet states now NATO members in the region -- curious again in Poland. Discussing the crow -- that Crimea referendum. Unfortunately Russia's leaders have responded. With a brazen. Brazen military incursion. Where the purposeful ratcheting up of ethnic tensions inside Ukraine. -- -- -- rushed and illegal referendum. In Crimea. That was not surprisingly. Rejected by virtually the entire. World. So Terry how real is the Russian desire to reclaim these ethnic strongholds or is it just infecting your estimation a pretense. For more money driven decisions. -- I I don't think it's a money driven decision it is about. Russia and the Russians. Putin has said explicitly where there are Russians if they need our -- we reserve the right to come to their rated anyway we can't. And to people in Poland and many other parts of Eastern Europe. That is a very frightening sound to -- to hear those words because. They got centuries of experience of the Russian bear taking chunks out of their country. And for example in Latvia 40%. Of -- of Latvia. Latvians are Russians. And Russia took the Baltic States. And swallowed them up for decades. -- parts of -- part to Bulgaria parts of Moldova. Many of these countries have bitter hard bloody experience of dealing with Russian expansionism is a very real. And and very legitimate fear of -- that the United States in the west is gonna have to address which leads -- my last. And as you point out there are other regions parts of Russia who want out so how -- he essentially square that circle. Yet it you know international law I did depends on on whose whose ox is getting gored Chechnya would like to be in Japan independent Ingushetia which is another region of Russia would like to be dependent. Good luck with Vladimir Putin on that. -- raises that the Specter of international law because you can cut it and slice and dice it's so many ways depending on how you want it. -- the United States has done that clearly Russia has done that. What really counts though it is the people in that -- the ukrainians the polls that the people of the baltics the people of many of those countries they look at what happened. Hot whatever the legality of it. And they are frightened and they're scared because we've got. History that they understand what this means Russia re drawing borders taking territory. All of Europe over here feels this the shadow. That they thought that -- done what. And and the prospect of another European war seemed -- twenty years ago is back and and and I do think that that international law. Which is an instrument of policy is going to be a very weak defense. Against the prospect of Russian adventurism. In other parts of Europe and and -- relation. Invaluable insight from our foreign correspondent Terry Moran Terry thank you so much we really appreciate your time appreciate that. Of course you can keep up with this cold war 2.0 in real time by downloading ABC news -- and -- this story for exclusive updates on the go. For now -- -- -- that's our New York with this ABC news digital special report.

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

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