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. Nodack

    "Please, Please Mr. President, stay out of everybodys business!!! No more foreign conflicts now. Lets get out of
    Afghanistan etc. and let the UN handle things."

    FYI, the US is one of the leaders of the UN.

    February 28, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  2. Yurii Babkov

    Russia occupied South Ukraine. This is a fact. If Washington and London will not act immediately it will undermine global non-proliferation movement! Small countries will not believe to guaranties of security form nuclear states! It will be catastrophe!

    February 28, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. Will

    Really? We're going to go to war with Russia? Over some third world eastern European backwater? No, we're not. And everyone knows it. Might as well just sit down and shut up. Putin doesn't care what we have to say...

    February 28, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. John

    As usual, everybody posting here knows everything. Let's wait a bit. Putin has reasons to do this that are far from trivial, and his moves so far are a LONG way from invasion. If he actually invaded it would be somewhat more obvious. But he needs to secure Russia's interests and then get out yesterday, as being there at all feeds into really bad press and then economic and diplomatic damage. As for Obama, he has said nothing yet that he did not need to say. So give them time.

    February 28, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Clint H

    Looks like Russia just gave us a green light in Syria! Thank you Putin. You idiot!!!

    February 28, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. Ray White

    In a joint statement on December 4, 2009 the presidents of the United States and Russia, Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, confirmed the assurances of security to Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus given on the heels of these countries' consent in 1994 to give up their nuclear weapons..OBAMA offical promises good for nothing.

    February 28, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Lenny

    Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. – Yet, we take the opportunity to determine of future of many sovereign nations!

    February 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Pitbullguy805

    You people are so stupid, "He's done nothing but made us look weak" NO he has kept us from going to war! Who gives a crap if people think we look weak. If they really want to try us, they'll be in for a rude awakening!!!

    February 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Devon

    Should we really put another war on our Chinese Credit Card? Especially with one of the largest super powers in the world? I hope Obama gets on his bike and backpedals the other way.

    February 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Jet1

    Your kidding right barry?

    February 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    lets have some real courage- tell the russians to back off or we nuke em

    February 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Heyho

    Any violation of Ukraines sovereignty reminds me of something, what is it, let me think..

    Ohh! I know!

    "Putin said, adding that any foreign intervention "would be a rude violation of international law or aggression, if we speak the language of the Charter of the United Nations."

    Seems to me anything goes as long as Russia gets what it wants. In Russia anyway.

    February 28, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. bob

    Interesting, do you think that if Canada or Mexico fell apart that the US would think twice about sending in troops to keep the peace??

    February 28, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. JohnParry

    The vast majority of Crimeans support Russia, speak Russian - literally are Russian. Putin played this move very well.

    February 28, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. Harry

    "Back off, Putin! (Or we'll boycott the Olympics).

    February 28, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. Ray

    Not many people challenging the absurd assertion that Obama has made the country weak. Totally, completely wrong. By not starting more unnecessary conflicts, and keeping boots off the ground in Libya and Syria, Obama has kept us stronger. I wonder how some of you armchair quarterbacks would handle things. You must really want us to be the neighborhood bully, with all this talk of "fear". I don't WANT us to be feared – I'd rather have us be respected. Obama is doing just fine on this, thank you.

    February 28, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. Katinca

    We voted for a president without a birth cirtificate and called half the country racist for not voting for him. We kissed his bum for every little thing he did, no matter how big his mistakes. We tried to pin point it on every other person so we could make this president look like a hero. Look at what we did America.

    February 28, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Roberto Vega

    Mr. Obama:
    You better pay more attention to the ongoing situation in Venezuela!!
    Venezuela will brake loose from America going for socialism. Please, do not make the same mistake Jimmy Carter made in the 70's with Nicaragua, El Salvador and Iran!!
    USA cannot afford the departure of Venezuela, El Salvador and other countries from the concert of democracy!!!

    February 28, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Quanah Parker

    The democrats have provided us with a government that is not only cluless and inexperienced but corrupt as well. It's like the Clintons and the other "progressive" elites said, "Hey, why don't we find the most inexperienced, good-looking, articulate, black guy we can find and make him the president? Couldn't hurt. Where's that list of community organizers?"

    We get the quality of government we deserve I suppose.

    February 28, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. The Real Truth.

    We have become the laughing stock of the world. Might as well send a boy scout out there to make threats. Thank you liberal America for voting for this clueless loser twice.

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. alexander

    Mr. Obama should stay out of Russia. Government in Ukraine, or so called government right now, is not a valid government. If he wants to get involved, he needs to protect people from facsists who are terrorizing the rest of people there.

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. tal

    Sorry mr. Obama you lost it on the Snowden affair, once you surrendered their and let putin get away with that that was it then came Syria then Iran and now Ukraine, you can't fight a bully with diplomacy once he knows you'll never act , you keep waving a gun while everyone knows there are no bullets in it unless you'll finally shot it once and show putin who is the boss here

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. John

    Obama won't do anything because:
    1. He's weak.
    2. He's a communist, so he views this as an expansion of his own ideology.

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Will

    Look at what the liberals did to our country and the world.

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. John

    So let me get this straight. Putin can say no military intervention in Syria. No intervention in Iran. He says what we did in Libya was wrong. But he can do this to the Ukrainian people. Putin you my friend are a class 5 dbag. I hope someone punches you in your mouth.

    February 28, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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