The price of winning Crimea
A youth walks through a nearly empty Lenin Square in central Simferopol on March 17, 2014. Crimea declared independence today and applied to join Russia while the Kremlin braced for sanctions after the flashpoint peninsula voted to leave Ukraine in a ballot that has fanned the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War.
Analysts predict Russia could spend up to $3 billion a year just to keep Crimea afloat. Instability in the region has cast a shadow over tourism, a major part of the Crimean economy. It's also unclear what might happen to Ukranian state property in Crimea. As for international economic sanctions, right now, they only target a handful of Russian and Ukranian officials, but the U.S. and Europe have warned those sanctions could be escalated, making many international investors nervous, and posing a further threat to Russia's economy.