ABINGDON, Va. -

Virginia U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith is speaking out about the issues in Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally notified the government and the parliament of Crimea's request to join Russia.

This means Russia is recognizing the region as an independent country.

This comes just a day after the European Union and the United States imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Russian and Ukrainian officials who have played a role in the crisis in Crimea.

Griffith tells us the U.S. is a dominant world power and needs to keep an eye on the situation to keep Russia in check. "We need to be making sure that the Russians understand there will be a price to pay if they continue their aggressive expansionism and if they try to use their military force to overrun the rest of Ukraine, or even the places that have Russian-speaking people in large numbers," he said.

President Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after the vote to urge him to work with Ukraine, and Western nations, to resolve the crisis diplomatically.