US lacking leverage in battle of Ukraine

American diplomats are battling against the clock this weekend to persuade Russian president Vladimir Putin to back down in the crisis over Ukraine.

9th March, 2014
Demonstrators last week with placards and Ukrainian flags in front of the White House in Washington, DC. Picture: Getty

American diplomats are battling against the clock this weekend to persuade Russian president Vladimir Putin to back down in the crisis over Ukraine. But whether the United States has the power to get its way is very seriously in doubt.

In a key development last week, the Russian-backed regional parliament in Crimea pledged to hold a referendum on March 16 on whether to secede from the rest of Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

Such a...

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