February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
7 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. Beltway Bandit

    Seriously? Is this the best the administration can muster? "Condemnation" and "coordination?" Putin is correct, he can wipe himself with Europe and the US–this demonstrates that the worst we will do is tell him how angry we are. At least the Europeans have an excuse, since they rely on Russian gas. I'm willing to bet that Putin will see this "strongly worded letter," to use a Team America reference, as a clear indication of our weakness on the international stage. We are a doormat, and he is a boot ready to step all over us.

    February 28, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. The Cappy

    Putin might have cared if Reagan had said this. Putin knows who he is dealing with here. The white house is planning to defang the military. Russia doesn't care what Obama says, and he'll get away with doing whatever he wants to do.

    February 28, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. linda

    Putin has already made a fool out of obama once, does he really want him to do it again? Come on America, they aren't exactly shaking in their shoes at anything U S has to say.

    February 28, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Circus Circus

    Our govt is a joke. Obama's Ms Nuland (aka Nudelman) disclosed that we've pumped $5b towards overthrow of Ukr. govt. Gee, that money could have been well spend here in the US...perhaps cover funds owned to unemployed.

    February 28, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. HeyHey

    He doesn't know if there are troops, he just has media reports? God help us all....

    February 28, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Paul

    Jimmy Carter would be so proud.

    February 28, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Dave Lacks, USA

    "Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine."
    The problem, Mr. President, is your NEVER "RESPOND".
    Do you not think Putin is aware of what a coward you are?

    February 28, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Craig

    Look, Putin! Obama really is holding his breath, and he is starting to turn blue! You'd better back off there, Putin. No telling where this might lead.

    February 28, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Kelby in Houston

    We are headed to another Cold War with Russia

    February 28, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Harsh Realities

    I am sure Putin had a good laugh over Obama's comments.

    February 28, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. Mike

    Really hope this isn't another Syrian chemical weapons "line" situation. If Obama says the international community has determined that there are "consequences" for military intervention in Russia, he better be damn sure we're not alone on this.

    February 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Katinca

    OBAMA OBAMA! Reminds me a little like that joke Carter.

    February 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. A Million to Juan

    Obama's a joke! No world leader is going to take him serious!

    February 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. mary

    Really? Obama will do nothing – he is a do nothing President.

    February 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Pat Henry

    Putin is laughing his butt off.

    February 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. JeeTee

    BACK OFF Putin – or we'll say BACK OFF again!

    February 28, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. erocks49ers

    Puttin back off or we'll "UNLIKE" your status

    February 28, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Katinca

    Obama is so weak it is just unbelievable. Seriously! He likes to fight his own people better than he fight this countries real enemies. He divided the country and literally made the world less safe. How can you even sugar coat this?

    February 28, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. Smitty

    The BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR, pretty much scares NO ONE. He will give another speech and everything will be better !!!

    February 28, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  20. Bill Henderson

    Yeah, and Russia is quaking in their boots. What a paper tiger we have for a leader.

    February 28, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. sixfootrabbit

    The paper tiger speaks!

    February 28, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. sdgreen

    Barack Obama is clearly a useless US President. We would be better off with Micky Mouse. Obama clearly has zero clue; such an utter failure both domestically and internationally. Clearly the United States of America has been severely weakened under Obama. Time to get rid of Obama and the stupid Democrats.

    February 28, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Mariusz Oszczygiel

    USA you need to be more assertive about Russian INVASION – beacuse this is what it is :-( without your support this region wil be lost...

    February 28, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. barrnone

    This happens on the eve of republicans voting against veterans benefits. Maybe they can save money and go force the Russians out themselves. Sure they don't want problems with Mitch, John, Rand, Ted and the gang.

    February 28, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  25. Katinca

    Liberals like to take the jobs away from our military heroes so he can give the money to a bunch of BUMBS! As a result, he is being a pansie on television waving his fist around. You can't do anything anymore Obama. You suck!

    February 28, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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