Several protracted phone calls between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have not closed the gap between the two sides on the Ukraine situation.
The US is maintaining Crimea must belong to Ukraine forever, irrespective of the wishes of its voters, who overwhelmingly called for accession into Russia. Putin, by contrast, is backing Crimean self-determination, and also uncomfortable with the cozy US relationship with a Ukrainian interim government installed after violent protests ousted the elected, pro-Russia government.
These are not minor issues, and with no deal at hand, many say the relationship between the two rulers is nearing a “breaking point” that could see US-Russian ties virtually non-existent for years to come.
The Obama Administration is treating its split with Russia the same way it has treated acrimony with any other nation, imposing unilateral sanctions and vowing to leave Russia “isolated.”
Isolation is unlikely, as though Russian economic ties may focus on the Pacific instead of Europe the nation remains an important trading power. Rather, Russia is expected to retaliate with sanctions of their own in the coming days, sparking a sanctions war that is just going to add fuel to the fire, meaning ties are set to get worse, not better.