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. John Nemesh

    Don't worry, we will issue an ultimatum, send a few Navy Destroyers to the area, set a deadline, then back off, consult Congress, and go home with our tail between our legs.

    February 28, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Laslo Toth

    Wolf Blitzer called Obama's speech "tough words." What a joke.

    February 28, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Elpasonian

    Who cares about Obama's red lines any more. Assad did not care, do you expect Putin to care !

    February 28, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. Whome

    I'm sure the Russian Government and people are shaking in there boots now that Barry has warned them.

    February 28, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. James

    What the heck are you going to do about it Obama?

    There is nothing to prevent them from taking Crimea. Same as they did in Georgia.

    February 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. blakenaustin

    Has Obama ever followed through with foreign policy threats? The man is a paper tiger with foregin affairs. No one respects he or Kerry.

    February 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. r3tard3d

    Letz give this guy another Nobel Peace prize for starting more wars!

    February 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. Jennifer NY

    Why doesn't Putin invade Dagestan and get rid of the terrorists? He invades a sovereign peaceful country? Why not just meet with them and make new treaties?

    February 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Woody

    Before many of us were alive there were Nazi submarines just off North Americas coast line ! No matter if we like it or not the world is everyones business . If you were to drain the oceans you would see all of us are connected more than anyone thought ! No one paid any attention to Hitler for a time too .

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

    I would like to see the CIA deal with Rushkee Putin....but the U.S should have seen this coing, and Align with NATO and Europe in sending in troops from the git go.....Now it appears Putin has the advantage and it will be harder if not impossible to get the Rushkees out of Ukraine...

    February 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Guest

    I can't believe the spineless president we have.

    February 28, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Lars

    Obama, weakness incarnate.

    February 28, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. James

    Now what is said is sort of ultimatum to Putin. He could have said that in private and Putin would not lose face if he stopped. But now, he would look weak if he followed.

    Another great international policy. Putin will show what he is made of in Crimea.

    February 28, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. Colin

    Well, the solution is clear. Everybody should go back to the agreements signed on Feb. 21 that keep Yanukovitch in his seat until the early presidential elections in December. The agreement was brokered by the EU and signed by Yanukovitch, the opposition and EU representatives. Then thugs among the Maidan protesters attacked the parliament and rammed through "a vote" cancelling everything that was agreed on Dec. 21.

    February 28, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Thumb in your eye

    Clearly, this administration supports Ukranian radicals, ultra nationalists and fascists. It encourages revolt vs. elections just to satisfy its own geopolitical greed. Obama should stay away from any foreign politics until his term expires. Recent appointments of diplomats from his inner circle support this statement.

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

    Obama did NOT say back off. He said it was troubling. Geeeez. This is why our world finds it challenging to find peace. CNN should be held accountable for using enflammatory language. im dead serious.

    February 28, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  17. Will

    Obama made our country look terrible by making enemies of half of it and literally apologizing to the world. People forget that this country is the only reason that evil dictadors haven't gone rampart like Hitler. Instead the liberals blame this country for being colonialists. Completely stupid, and we see the result now. It was inevitable really, because the liberals don't live in the real world and need to be hit by reality. When we see people dying on television I hope the liberals that voted for Obama whisper underneath their covers and say, I'm glad we aren't colonial capitalists at least.

    February 28, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. Pontius Pilate

    Isn't it amazing that a country that clobbered members of Occupy Movement, now talks about people's power in Ukraine. Hello Putin, I do not like you as a person, but you owe the world a responsibility – to ask the West to go and eff themselves.

    February 28, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. jinx9to88

    Funny how all the GOPers on here are for war but they never want to pay for them until a Democrat president is in office.

    February 28, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. RS

    This is where the years of leadership training in the adjunct faculty lounge of a minor public university really pays off.

    Look at that suit, look at the tie. This is a real man who means business. Watch out Putin, he's focused like a laser on your KGB behind.

    February 28, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. conoclast

    Ooo, the portent! If the Russians become our "enemies" over this issue will the republicans harken back to former times and return to being human? What a daunting dilemma for them: to have a good old-fashioned superpower confrontation is all the aging GOP hawks ache for - but it would necessitate having to agree with The Prez, something for which they're just not wired.

    One wonders if Putin sees the rich irony, hmm?

    February 28, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. Bill J

    The 1980's called. They said we could probably use their foreign policy right now...

    February 28, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. opinion8it

    Once bit twice shy. Obama drew a line in Syria, but Congress (repubs & dems) would not back him up and his closest ally (UK) could not join in. Now we are faced with a much more significant threat to US interest and Putin feels unchallenged in his endeavor to expand..... all because we had a crippled congress who was more interested in punishing Obama than protecting our national interests.

    February 28, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  24. Miami 305

    Like bush said you can't just a evil men.."if you not with us you against us."yep puttin not with us ,this guy still have the Cold War in his mind .he surely don't like unite state it is the fact ..

    February 28, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. Priyanka

    Does the president or even the country really know how weak we look to be making such statements? If we are going to take the course of not intervening in other countries affairs, then stick with it, and stick with it strongly. Instead he is waving his hands in the air saying, "please stop." So embarrasing. I didn't vote for Obama thank god!

    February 28, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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