March 20 - Washington imposes new sanctions on Moscow and Russia hits back with its own sanctions. Ukrainian boots on the ground in Crimea face tough choice. Gavino Garay reports.
The lower house of Russia's parliament overwhelmingly approves a treaty to annex Crimea. Washington is retaliating with more sanctions, in addition to those previously announced. U.S. President Barrack Obama has announced sanctions on 20 more Russians, some close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to the annexation. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I signed a new executive order today that gives us the authority to impose sanctions, not just on individuals but on key sectors of the Russian economy. This is not our preferred outcome. These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy, but could also be disruptive to the global economy. However, Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community." Moscow is also slapping sanctions on Washington, over what it calls a "hostile thrust." They include sanctions on nine U.S. officials, including senators John McCain and Harry Reid, barring them from Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops on Crimean soil are trying to figure out what to do. They face a tough choice: leave for Ukraine, or take a Russian oath. This so-called head of a local self-defense unit explains. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ANDREY KARAULOV, HEAD OF A SO-CALLED LOCAL SELF DEFENCE UNIT, SAYING: "I know that by now the negotiations have completed, all servicemen have made their decision, each one of them made his own. Some are leaving for Ukraine, others will retire, and some will stay here and will terminate their contract with military Ukrainian forces and take an oath for Russia, and will continue their service within the Russian armed forces. Among those servicemen, 75 percent are Crimeans who have already made a conscious choice, and they will remain here and will continue their service in Crimea." In this small Ukrainian town, rubles are already being accepted. And in the Crimean capital, people are lining up to apply for Russian passports. While some 50 kilometers from the Russian border in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian troops stand at the ready.