February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
6 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. Joe

    Obummer should back off this is not our fight. The Ukraine has been part of Russia for 100 years,let them two sort out their own problems,and keep his big ugly nose out of it.

    February 28, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Stuart Weinstein

    Hey, maybe we can get Ted Cruz to read "Green Eggs and Ham" to Putin.

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. ss

    Drone Putin.

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Name glbrtayal

    Let's do it!! The world has been waiting for a long time for the US and Russia to do it. Let's them see what real war is like!!!!Go for it Mr. President .

    Let's see how tough the Real War Hawks at Fox News are and the Teddy Nuggett whana be's are!

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. wbarnes

    Okay, Obumba you have now scared the death out of Pudd'n. I am sure by the morning that they will withdraw all troops and bow to you on the way out....or maybe not. Why not tell them if they dont get out that you will cut our defense budget another 10%. I just want another red line,,,,please....the last worked out so well. I know its late time for you to hit the sack. Go see if the Mucher has lost any weight today,

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Tasuja

    Sorry for not proof reading. Here is the corrected version.

    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 Serbia for 74 days, killing over 4,000 Serb men, women and children. And, let's not forget that we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Now, we arrogantly tell to the Russians 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 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Stuart Weinstein

    Meanwhile the GOP is wondering why we are not at DEFCON1

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Jack Alex

    World War 3?

    February 28, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Overt

    For all of you that complain about the statement being weak and America has no credibility, empty out you gun safes, load up and go show those commie pinkos America is best. For those who don't care, expansionism of any major power is something to worry about. This needs to be addressed by the international community, led by the EU. It is in their backyard.

    February 28, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Greatttt

    Putin thinks Obama is a joke and will act however he wants. Sadly I think we will all suffer due to the ego clash that is about to unfold

    February 28, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. JS

    Yeah.. Putin is shivering over the threat from this slimeball? HAHAAHAHA. Obama–is a joke. You can't coverup this mess with your corruption/fraud and hush hush- ObaMORON. Yeah, SCAMerica is such a great country that it should get involved in other countries' conflicts. NOT! Obama should feel lucky there hasn't been an attempt to throw him out of office yet.

    February 28, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. JS

    Yeah.. Putin is shivering over the threat from this slime? HAHAAHAHA. Obama–is a joke. You can't coverup this mess with your corruption/fraud and hush hush- ObamaSCAM. Yeah, SCAMerica is such a great country that it should get involved in other countries' conflicts. NOT! Obama should feel lucky there hasn't been an attempt to throw him out of office yet.

    February 28, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. No one

    We do not need a proxy war, still what one Earth is Russia doing?

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Jack Spratt

    Halt! Or I will say halt again!

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. J Schmitt

    I bet Putin is quaking in his boots. Another line in the sand

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. VJ

    Don't worry, he will go to congress and will be stalled....period.

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. myrtlemaylee

    Bravo, President Obama. And I saw McCain belching on CNN afterwards & calling the President "naive". It's long past the time, IMO, when McCain should have been plopped in a rocker with a glass of warm milk.

    In the midst of a delicate international crisis, for McCain to talk trash about the sitting POTUS, is beyond disgusting. He wasn't such a sphincter when the architect of the single greatest US foreign policy abomination trashed his wife & child. McCain has turned into something I can't write in polite society. I have no respect at all for him. Arizona, I feel for you.

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. tony_russel

    we will hit them with sanctions.

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. mike

    John McCain called this three weeks ago.

    February 28, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. Josh

    I think it's a tad funny how many equate military actions to power. What a bunch of neanderthals we have here in America.

    February 28, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Frank

    EPAB
    What? No neo cons calling for military action yet?
    ------–
    No need. BHO is already on the ball.

    February 28, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Fake Facts

    So basically we can destabilize any region WE want, but if someone else noses in on another country, it's "deeply troubling"? Got it.

    February 28, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. wotudezerv

    all you wimps who are on obama's back about this, you are pitiful cowards and fools. he says what he has to. at least he's not a cocaine taking draft dodging awol president in a fake flight jacket with a Mission Accomplished banner behind him wanging his texan doodle for all the world to laugh at just before one of the biggest humiliations in US history. where were you then, big mouths? oh, right. playing handsie's with yr Mr. One eye as usual.

    February 28, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  24. tm1946

    First, there is nothing we can do about it. Many Americans have no interest other than what the federal government can do for them.

    Second, doubt the street sweepers in Red Square do more than laugh at the American President and his "concerns".

    Third, this is just another step in Pres. O wanting the US will be just one of 300 other countries and nothing special. Do not forget, he current speech is about dope and black males making bad decisions, He has bigger concerns than what happens to the Ukraine, got to get more democrats elected.

    February 28, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.- So, what the US has to do with it.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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