In spite of the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, Both President Obama and Vice President Biden are keeping their weekend vacation plans. Undeterred by over 30,000 troops in Crimea, both individuals felt no need to change their schedule. White House officials stated that they were comfortable that President Obama could handle any upcoming crisis away from the White House.
The White House brushed off concerns Friday that, with the crisis in Crimea intensifying, now might not be the best time for President Obama — and his vice president — to go on vacation.
The travel schedules of both the president and Vice President Biden have come under scrutiny, given the rapidly changing situation in Ukraine. Obama, already in Florida to talk about education, was planning to spend some family time this weekend in Key Largo, Fla., where he arrived late in the day. Biden, meanwhile, will be in the Virgin Islands.
Source: FoxNews Contributor: Joseph St. John
News Tracker: Ukraine
The US Destroyer Truxtun arrived in the Black Sea near the Ukraine where recent local deadly clashes among local rivals has attracted Russian troops. Now US troops are being relocated to the region. Earlier this past week, the US sent 12 F-16 fighter aircraft and 300 troop to Poland for a “training exercise” in response to the Ukraine crisis. A few days prior to this, the US sent six F-15 fighters and a KC-130 in-air refueling aircraft to Lithuania to join air patrols in the Baltic States.
The Russian government-funded RT news network charged that the Truxtun’s presence during the Ukraine and Crimea crisis was part of a U.S. buildup in support of Ukraine. Citing previous U.S.-Russian naval faceoffs in the Black Sea, RT reported that the “American battleship is highly unlikely to get anywhere near the Crimea shores, let alone Sevastopol, without a risk of repeating a hasty exit.” in a reference to a 1988 incident with the Yorktown and Caron US naval ships side-swiped by Russian ships which caused minor damage.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the surrounding troops as Crimean “self-defense forces.” The U.S. has estimated that at least 20,000 Russian troops are in Crimea. U.S. leaders have described any attempt to annex Crimea as illegal, but in a Kremlin statement Sunday, Putin said the referendum was “based on international law and aimed at guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the peninsula’s population.”
In Kiev, acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh issued a list of locations in Crimea where Russian forces were blockading Ukrainian forces.
Additional info: Military.com News Tracker: Ukraine
There is still no evidence of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft Airline that disappeared more than 48 hours ago. Two attempts to identify objects believed to be pieces of the plane ended with no results. (more info)
News Tracker: Malaysia Airlines
Conservative Republicans Vote to Legalize Marijuana
In a surprise vote by conservative republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), 41% voted that marijuana should be fully legalized.
This was a stunning reversal of what has often been described as an ultra-conservative group in regard to social issues. The straw poll was taken at the conference on Saturday, March 8, 2014.
While 41% said it’s time to change the law and tax it, another 21% said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases. That’s a stunning 62% of conservative Republicans wanting to legalize it.
Source: Washington Times