February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama on Ukraine: The U.S. is 'deeply concerned'

(CNN) - The United States is "deeply concerned" by reports of Russian military movements inside Ukraine, President Barack Obama said Friday, saying any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty would be "deeply destabilizing."

Obama said that the situation in Ukraine was "very fluid" and that the United States would continue to coordinate closely with European allies and communicate directly with the Russian government.

"The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," he said.

Here's a transcript of his remarks:

Good afternoon, everybody.

Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine. Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring.

I also spoke several days ago with President Putin, and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we've made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.

However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.

*It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violence [violation]of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

The events of the past several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be in a country with deep divisions. But the Ukrainian people have also reminded us that human beings have a universal right to determine their own future.

Right now, the situation remains very fluid. Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister - the Prime Minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine. I also commend the Ukrainian government’s restraint and its commitment to uphold its international obligations.

We will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies. We will continue to communicate directly with the Russian government. And we will continue to keep all of you in the press corps and the American people informed as events develop.

Thanks very much.


Filed under: President Obama • Russia
soundoff (476 Responses)
  1. badtobone

    Bet putin is so scared of another one of Obama 's red line.
    Please stay off of the news everyone knows your words mean nothing to Putin .

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. ObjectiveGuy

    Putin must be quaking in his boots.

    Rumor has it that Putin said, off the record, "Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. It knocks over all the pieces, poops all over the board, and then struts around like it won the game." I'm guessing this is a pretty accurate analogy.

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. AC

    There aren't any pending oil interests there, otherwise the US would have jumped in there immediately. Humanitarian efforts in the name of Democracy are a sham.

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. darthwilson

    So Russia has "invaded" Ukraine. Who cares? Who are we to judge. We invade and bomb countries all the time! What's the saying about people/countries and glass houses again???

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Tasuja

    The chickens are coming home to roost for NATO and the US.

    Have we already forgotten how NATO and the US forced Serbia to give up their historic province of Kosovo? The Albanians were the majority in this Serb province and wanted independence from Serbia. When Serbia refused, the US and NATO bombed defenseless for 74 days killing over 4,000 Serb men, women and children. And, let's not forget that we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Not to behave as we behave with our military might, but to obey our preaching. I doubt Russians give a damn about us preaching to them.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. gahh

    I couldn't care less what happens to Ukraine. No more losing US soldiers in countries that aren't a threat to us. Obama mind your own business.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Mary

    I remember in one of the presidential debates, Obama & Romney were asked who they thought was a country that could be an enemy to the U.S., Romney said Russia. Obama said the Cold War was over and he snickered at Romney's answer. I wonder if Obama is still snickering now.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Ed

    Is there anyone who thinks Putin thinks we will get involved militarily in this? Rightly or wrongly, we have no credibility.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. J

    Really? Stop using our countrys blood to try and fix everybody elses problems. Mind your own business Obama.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Bill

    Obama's words mean nothing to Putin. Putin has no fear of or respect for Obama. Obama can spew rhetoric all day and night, and it won't make any difference in what Russia does.

    February 28, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. YoonYoungJo

    I hope the Ukrainian people get their democratic government. Democracy is not perfect, as any system of government of the people and for the people is run by people, who themselves are not perfect. Still, democracy provides people who are not wealthy, smart or supremely influential to have a voice. Hence, why it is a government of the people.

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. Gwats1957

    Not our concern.....

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Russia Today is Propaganda like CNN

    Right now this is a war between government thugs in Russia the US and NATO and we are all in this at their expense, everyone likes to blame eachother but in the end we the civilians are the Losers not the guys calling the shots.

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. J anthony

    I'm no Obama fan but no one in their right mind wants to come off like a hard-on.when u have the power of the world's largest and moat fearsome military-inndustrial-complex at your fingertips,u don't need to tak tough. Grow up

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. ColdWarVet

    Deeply troubled.....hmmmm...I'm still wondering what the accidentally recorded comment about "having more leeway after the election" comment really meant.

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The incompetent has already given a red line to Iran, Egypt, Libya, Syria,...now the Russian Bear,.....and every time they cross it laughing,.....he runs for the dog house.

    February 28, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. ss

    In 1994 US signed a treaty with Russia, GB to respect border and sovereignty of Ukraine in exchange of giving up nuclear arms. Ukraine gave up nuclear arms; US, honor the treaty

    February 28, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. visitor

    Perhaps you so-called patriots (leaving out the obvious Russian troll brigade) can get through your thick skulls that we have a treaty in place and that treaty most likely, is going to be honored? You know, this is NATO now, right? You get this? This isn't about your hatred of Obama?

    What did you expect him to say? We have Seal Team 6 in a helicopter?

    February 28, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. pkrbkr

    Thank God we have a president who THINKS before he ACTS!!!

    February 28, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. polecat

    It's time to practice a bit of isolationism in the US. We have serious issues here that need our focus. The rest of the world's activities should remain their concern and not ours. Our global involvement in foreign affairs have accomplished nothing more than a passionate hatred for US foreign policy and the west in general.

    February 28, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. RachelMandow

    Don't worry Putin, don't pay attention to the Chicago Thug – nobody pays attention to him or to his lies, except for the sheep who watch the LGBT crowd on MSNBC all day long, all Obama does all day long is lie about stuff from Benghazi to people being able to keep their healthcare, just ignore the Chicago street thug, it's what most people do in America these days – we just ignore the thug.

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. billmosby

    We're significantly reducing the resources devoted to our military in the not too distant future. That fact may keep us from doing much about Crimea, or much of anything else.

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. Mike

    Putin's really shaking in his Russian boots now!

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Valdi

    Obama, no on believes the lies of the NATO propaganda – but one think I need to tell you – Russia is not Libya! Watch the red line Russia is drawing. You better keep off and continue to print the fake USD in West, it should be enough for parasitism.

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Obama?????? Telling Putin what to do???????? Joke of the year?

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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