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. Dissapointed

    It's so pathetic to hear so many Right wing idiots complaining about foreign policy on here, you hate Obama, I get it, but you're too stupid to even recognize that though he may not have achieved much in domestic programs over his Presidency thus far, he's achieved a lot in foreign relations. When Bush left office we had 2 Wars in the Middle East, The Iranians creating a bomb and most of Europe angry at us. Obama brought us out of Iraq, is closing the war in Afghanistan by the end of the year.. Europe works WITH us now and Iran has agreed to terms on being transparent with it's Nuclear program... you may sit around looking for problems with Obama all day, but A levelheaded NON- Partisan person like myself and many others actually KNOW that This president has done a great job. The very fact that we're NOT in the middle of the Syrian conflict shows this is a smart and very Capable Foreign policy president.

    February 28, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. OBG

    A rediculous statement by Obama.

    Putin is laughing at Obama and drinking Vodka celebrating his domination of US foreign policy.

    February 28, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Rasheed

    So what? Why should US worry about anything at all. As long as the gays are gay (happy) in the US, let the rest of the world do whatever they want.

    February 28, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. dardar

    Don't worry about the US getting heavily involved. We're going to send the same support that we did for our own guys in Benghazi!

    February 28, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. Wolfgang

    I wonder if it is the lack of oil which is keeping us out of their country and not threatening with military response. All the middle east countries we threaten with retaliation.

    February 28, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Phil

    ooooooh, big bad Obama's getting mad. Seriously as much as this president has set back our status in the world its almost laughable that he tries to take a hard stance with Russia. He couldn't even handle Syria...and Russia is supposed to be scared that he will be "deeply troulbed?" What a joke...

    February 28, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. parisian

    Are you scared of Russia? because russia not a poor Afganıshtan

    February 28, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. simon

    Hypocrite! Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan before pointing fingers!

    February 28, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Mike500

    Putin has said that negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, craps on the board, then struts around like he won.

    February 28, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Badger1217

    Or what? This administration just gutted our military taking it back to pre WWII levels. Putin has warships in Cuba and has ties with Central and South American countries who will happily allow a Russian military presence. Obama is systematically weakening our nation politically, economically, socially, and militarily. Good job sir. Well done. Meantime I will brush up on my Russian.

    February 28, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. widget520

    Like anyone is listening, Obama. Just shut up already. We have enough troubles here at home without you sticking your nose in someone else's business.

    February 28, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. TomGI

    "Obama says back off, Putin"

    Or what? You'll give another speech tomorrow?

    February 28, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Redeye Dog

    Isn't it interesting that whenever Obama doesn't want to do anything about something, he places the United States behind someone or something else. But it's getting old. The world can read Obama like a book. He didn't say "back off." He said "there will be costs."

    History says that when Obama takes this posture, he's not really going to do anything because neither is the International community, unless of course, the United States led the way.

    Don't hold your breath.

    February 28, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. Alan/Maui

    Obama is being flexable now after the election. Obama does nothing. Ineffective leader.

    February 28, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Concerned Citizen

    Nobody takes this administration seriously, including Russia. This is an empty threat/statement that Mr. Obama has made (yet again). As an American, I am embarrassed by our country's leadership.

    February 28, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Richard Phillips

    It about time they finally stepped on toe's that can kick back

    February 28, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Adam Smith

    They're doing the right thing – protecting ethnic Russians so they wouldn't get stomped on. Stay out of it.

    February 28, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Attilio

    This is not your business M Obama. Stay away from Putin

    February 28, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Oh Brother

    I wonder if Putin is laughing as hard as I am. Our president hold no sway with any world leaders. If they show him any sort of respect it is to shine him on so that they can take advantage of him later.

    February 28, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Tom Barnett

    We told Putin we'd respond in Georgia six years ago, too. How'd that work out?

    February 28, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Here we go again! War, war, war! This president is no better than any others. Actually, he is worse, because he promised SO many things to his liberals when he was running for office, and has pretty much gone back on all of them.

    February 28, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. Tasuja

    Now that Vladimir Putin has angered our Barak Hussein Obama, the Harlem Globetrotters will not visit Russia. That will teach the Russians not to mess with Obama

    February 28, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Nomad

    But it's ok if the US invades Iraq and Afghanistan which are next door to Russia. Your on your own with this one Obama. I've had enough of Presidents who want to save the world and get us involved in a conflicts with the lose of our blood, not theirs.

    February 28, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. jkantor26712

    When Obama talks, no one listens.

    February 28, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. GODZILLA1

    People, Putin is old KGB, the same KGB that shot down the East German protesters in 1953, invaded Hungary in 1956, smashed the Solidarity movement in Poland, invaded Afghanistan – he will invade the Ukraine BECAUSE HE CAN. And there is nothing we can do about it. We are already overcommitted, weakened and impotent to act inside Russia's sphere of influence. Thanks to Shrub and his Neocons (Iraq and Afghanistan) we are a paper tiger.

    February 28, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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