There had been clear threats of real sanctions if Russia disrupted or tried to disrupt the presidential elections in Ukraine. Such warnings have also been issued over the last two months with respect to Russian military intervention in mainland Ukraine.
The attempts by Kremlin-backed separatists to prevent the presidential elections from taking place were entirely open. They were also largely successful in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where election commissions were attacked by armed gunmen, commission heads abducted, and threats of reprisals issued both to commission members and ’enemies’ who tried to vote.
On May 27, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki first skirted the issue but finally admitted that since there had been attempts to disrupt the elections, they would be considering what to do next.