Russia has defended its takeover of Crimea on the grounds that it is protecting the majority of Russians who live in the region. This is the same thing Russia claimed upon occupying and annexing the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at United Nations meetings in Geneva, said, "This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life."
But actually, the most recent poll by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology shows that a majority of Crimeans are against a union with Russia, and that no region of Ukraine wishes to be reunited with the Russian Federation.
Just 41 percent of Crimeans in the poll taken between February 8 and 18 wanted to become part of Russia.
In the Donetsk region, just 33 percent supported joining Russia. The numbers are even smaller in other parts of the country. In Ukraine as a whole, only 13 percent said they wanted unification with Putin's Russia.
On the other hand, having 40 percent of the population wishing to leave suggests that a referendum on the matter is appropriate. Scotland, for example, is having a referendum this year on independence from Britain, even though polls show just 32 percent support for independence. But with the might of the Russian army already occupying Crimea, can any referendum on the matter be seen as legitimate? I doubt it — if Russian soldiers with machine guns were standing outside your house, would you feel comfortable voting against their presence there?
The fact that the majority of Crimeans and the vast majority of Ukrainians are against reunification with Russia really undermines the attempts of the Putin regime to justify their occupation of Crimea. This is a baseless land grab, nothing more. John Aziz
In an interview with Face the Nation on CBS airing Sunday, President Trump said, "I don't know. I mean, we'll see," when asked if another nuclear test by North Korea would prompt him to choose military intervention against Pyongyang. "I would not be happy," Trump said of a hypothetical test, "If he does a nuclear test I would not be happy. And I can tell you also that the president of China, who is a very respected man, won't be happy either."
Trump was speaking in response to Saturday's failed missile test, in which North Korea unsuccessfully fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. Pressed with the same question while touring a factory in Pennsylvania Saturday, Trump was similarly vague. "You'll soon find out, won't you?" he said. "You'll soon find out."
Also on Saturday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reaffirmed the United States' commitment to pay for South Korea's THAAD missile defense system, comments that apparently contradict President Trump's recent suggestion that Seoul should foot the $1 billion bill.
Watch Trump's Face the Nation comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian
Pres. Trump: “I would not be happy,” if North Korea does a nuclear test. pic.twitter.com/9IqgCPflZ9
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 30, 2017
Severe storms tore through Southeast and Midwest states including Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas over the weekend, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens more injured. Five people were killed by tornadoes that struck near Dallas, Texas, and 54 more people were hospitalized with weather-related injuries.
Parts of Missouri and Arkansas have been deluged in up to 11 inches of rain, closing at least 150 roads in Missouri alone. One woman was killed when her vehicle submerged, and another woman died when a tree fell on her home.
The White House Correspondents' Dinner carried on in President Trump's absence Saturday evening, and Reuters' Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, took the occasion to push back against Trump's "fake news" accusations. "We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations, and we are not the enemy of the American people," Mason said. "Freedom of the press is a building block of our democracy. Undermining that by seeking to delegitimize journalists is dangerous to a healthy republic."
The dinner's host was The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, who did address free speech — "Only in America can a first generation Indian American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the President!" — but spent much of his time skewering the absent Trump, "the elephant not in the room."
"Trump is liar-in-chief, and remember, you guys are public enemy number one," Minhaj said. "You are his biggest enemy. Journalists. ISIS. Normal-length ties. And somehow, you're the bad guys."
Full Frontal's Samantha Bee held a competing event, "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner," addressing similar themes. Watch Minhaj's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) April 30, 2017
President Trump celebrated his 100th day in office with a cheering rally crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Saturday evening, skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner in favor of a return to the campaign trail.
"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people," he told supporters in a speech ranging from North Korea to ObamaCare to Hillary Clinton. "The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade."
Trump reiterated his trademark promise to build an enormous wall along the southern border — "Don't even worry about it," he assured his audience — and mocked the "fake news" people "trapped" at the "very, very boring" dinner in Washington. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2017
President Trump announced last weekend he would "be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania" to mark his first 100 days in office, an event scheduled for Saturday that also gives the president alternative plans to the White House Correspondents' Dinner he has declined to attend.
The host of this year's dinner is The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, whom Reuters' Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, asked to focus on "the importance of a free press" instead of simply taking the opportunity to "roast the president in absentia." Mason added, "That doesn't mean there can't be some jokes about the president, but just that there should be some jokes on the press."
The dinner in Washington, D.C., and the rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, both begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed live online. Watch the dinner via C-SPAN and the rally via CBS News. Bonnie Kristian
Leaders of the 27 nations remaining in the European Union after the United Kingdom's forthcoming Brexit on Saturday agreed unanimously to the terms of the exit process. "We are ready," said Michel Barnier, the EU27's chief negotiator. "We are together."
Formal negotiations will begin this summer, and the guidelines approved Saturday set March 29, 2019 as an end date. Among other requirements, the terms specify negotiations must address the U.K.'s financial obligations — Brussels seeks tens of billions of euros from London on its way out — as well as creation of an EU-U.K. border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated Mass with a crowd of about 15,000 in Cairo, Egypt, a visit made at the invitation of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar and a leading moderate cleric and academic of Sunni Islam. The trip follows the Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt that claimed at least 45 lives.
"God is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity!" Francis said in his homily. "Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him."
Francis will visit the Egyptian Catholic community later Saturday. His has used his visit to Egypt to urge peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. Bonnie Kristian