In a ceremony Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation. The west calls it clear violation of international law. But Putin defended the Russian view of the Crimean Peninsula as a historical part of its territory. So far diplomatic protests and sanctions imposed by the EU and the US have failed to impress the Kremlin.
Although Putin insists he has no plans to seize more of Ukraine, other former Soviet Republics have expressed concern over Russia's territorial ambitions. Europe and the US have sharply condemned the move, but are hoping to avoid a military escalation.
Can economic sanctions force Moscow to the negotiating table? Is the annexation of Crimea the start of a new Russian expansion? How far will Europe and the US go to show Putin where the boundaries are?
Tell us what you think: Russia – Back to Empire?
Anton Troianovski - is a US-american journalist of Russian Origin. Based in Berlin, he is the chief German politics and economics correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. In recent weeks, Anton Troianovski covered the Sochi Olympics in Russia as well as the Crimea referendum in Ukraine. Before moving to Germany last year, he worked for the newspaper from New York and Washington. He also has reported from Moscow for The Washington Post and The Associated Press.
Anna Rose - began writing articles for a number of newspapers while studying Journalism at Moscow State University. In 1997 she moved to Germany, where she worked as a freelance journalist. Since 2005 she is the Germany-correspondent for the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, and contributed articles to Novye Izvestiya, Profil and The New Times, as well as for the online-site Slon. She is also a blogger for the internet portal of Echo Moscow radios.
Alison Smale - is a British journalist who graduated from Stanford University in the US. In December 2008, she became the first woman to take up the post of Executive Editor at the International Herald Tribune. In an article about the IHT's redesign in April 2009, which Smale oversaw, The Independent called her "the most powerful British female editor overseas." In her reporting days, Alison Smale was AP's bureau chief for Eastern Europe, where she covered the rise of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and changes in Russia. As Deputy Foreign Editor at The New York Times she organized much of the paper's coverage of the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. She is now the New York Times bureau chief in Berlin“.