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. J anthony

    "moSt fearsome" and "taLk tough"

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. MrBigStuff

    This should be interesting. The Administration was loathe to get involved with Syria, Libya or anything else related to the Arab Spring. If they decide to confront Russia, I fear the President will become entangled with a political opponent who is by far his senior.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Guest

    There are no need for Putin in Crimea, this is military invasion. No one in Ukraine would ever ask Putin for help.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. yeahright

    ​Its amazing how ridiculous any American criticism of foreign military policy is, now considering that the majority of Ukrainians are in fact ethnically Russian and the Ukraine is in such close proximity to Russia, that alone should be grounds enough for there action but then again let's look a bit at recent U.S actions, Libya=completely destabilized and controlled by Islamic radicals, and of course there is Syria where we are supporting the same type of people who where responsible for the atrocities of 9/11 and also are killing all minorities and secularist with the complete military, diplomatic and humanitarian support of the U.S. Im not exactly saying this course of action from Russia is correct but please get off the 'Merica nonsense judging others for doing far less detrimental things to other countries and for far better reasons.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Richard

    Has Putin stopped laughing yet?

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

    The President needs to strike a stronger tone than this. And on a Friday evening, whose paying attention? Putin will take any sign of weakness as an excuse to seize all of Crimea. He did it in Georgia in 2008. Putin will not be satisfied until all of the former soviet republics are within the Russian sphere of influence, one way or the other.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. notfooledagain

    Look on folks, I think I see another red line comming.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. realPerson

    If you don't want destabilization don't go around staging revolutions and insurrections to further your own selfish interests, Obama.

    February 28, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Jonny Pacano

    Thank you Mr. President!
    We do not want Russia to send its troops to other parts of Europe tomorrow. Putin must be stopped now.

    February 28, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. LogicalOne

    I have to say that his international credibility is seriously damaged. Unfortunately, I have to say that regardless of the many, many, many faults that Bush had, doing what he said didn't seem to be one of them. Too bad much of what he said turned out to be lies....

    February 28, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. weebitwidd11e

    Really? I watched the Ukrainians yelling "Russia! Russia!" over and over again. Looks to me that is what they want.

    February 28, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Rob AR

    What a joke. Another 'red-line' where O will go scampering for cover when Putin crosses it. This is what happens when the World knows the US President is a whimp.

    February 28, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Jim

    At least our executive administration is only deeply concerned and that should give everyone pause. I was worried when I opened the article that I would see 1600 Pennsylvania Ave was in the process of elevating such to either appalled or really ticked.

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Guest

    Make no mistake, Putin will not stop in Crimea if nothing stops him.

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Joey

    Yeah Obammy, you bad.

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Mike

    Is this some kind of joke? Nobody gives a rats but about Ukraine. Sadly I'm just 1 in 1000 that does.

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Jan

    Mr. President........it would be in your best interests to take care of matters at home....namely 4.2 million unemployed people that are unable to find employment and are still looking...many will be without food and housing because Congress cannot justify the means to pay for continued unemployment.....but you can justify going into the Ukraine.....and not ask for the monetary means to do so.....

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Mary

    Stay out of it!!

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    No more war!

    February 28, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Steel On Target

    Looks like its time to tell the boys in Vincenza to start packing their chutes. Next stop, LZ Crimea.

    February 28, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. yogi

    The righties are here in full force blaming Obama, oh yes, we hear you loud and clear, we should intervene militarily like the Bushes have. Republicans lack the capability to negotiate with intelligence or evaluate complex foreign situations, they only think in terms of brute force, they love wars, the more the better, and if thousands die? Oh well that's war.

    February 28, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. FLUX

    Thanks to Republican President George Bush invading Iraq we don't stand on very good moral ground here.

    February 28, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Guest

    Most Ukrainians want to join NATO.

    February 28, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Bucky O'Hare

    This really comes down to which leader looks better shirtless. Now Putin looks pretty good, but he's got some saggy pecs. Obama on the other hand looks much better. So my money is on Obama.

    February 28, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Barn

    Oh noes! Another "red line" warning by Obama. I'm sure Putin, the Taliban, the Syrians, the Iranians, al Quada and North Korea are just laughing up a storm. Please Mr. President. Just sit down and keep quiet. 2016 can't get here fast enough.

    February 28, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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