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. BobbyBobby51

    Another example of a failed foreign policy headed by a weak, ineffective POTUS. Obama is a disgrace to the office! Putin, Iran, Etc., play this ninny like a violin!

    February 28, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. The Unknown

    Iraq , Libya, Syria , Afghanistan, Egypt, and Now you want to mess with Ukraine. All these countries have been a failed attempt of democracy smh.

    February 28, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Nata Foxx

    Back off Mr. Obama. Move your hand out of Ukraine and Russia.
    You are not the one who can talk about human rights.

    West Ukraine people are fascists. They supported Hitler during the WW2. They were killing their countrymen; they can go anywhere they want to go, even to the moon.
    Let East Ukraine decide by themselves where they want to be.

    February 28, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. haddock

    McCain would have invaded by now. Rand Paul would have announced his determination to do nothing. Romney would have reallocated his capital. At least Obama is trying to thread the needle between foolhardy bravado and indifference. I hope he gets it right.

    February 28, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Edward

    Instead of focusing on the people of Ukraine, people on here are so quick to name call their own president. The UN should be seeing if they need any goods since communications have been severed. Most you whom haven't served in the military use it like a solution for everything. We don't need boots on the ground to make a point.

    February 28, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Elpasonian

    It could cost Obama less to defeat Putin in Syria by supporting Syrian to remove Assad. Obama lost credibility in the world. Now Obama shall pay a lot to stick to his words preventing Putin from taking over Ukraine, that's if he stick to his threat.

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

    Riddle me this hippies and criminally insane conservatives...When has the president EVER ONCE made a bad move on the international stage? he has a working relationship with all parties involved. let him do his job.

    February 28, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Jimmy

    Obama is deeply troubled and sends a strong message to Putin.Putin laughed so hard he spit vodka across the room.The U. S. is so weak now under our great leader Obama we couldn't fight our way out of a wet paper bag.We don't have any money to buy bullets,it all goes for food stamps and other social programs for minorities.Our military is more concerned with gay rights and womens rights in uniform to fight anyone.

    February 28, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    For all you misinformed that think Putin is such a stellar example of raging testosterone -so far Syria has thumbed their nose at him and missed just about every deadline, with no sign they intend to do anything. Since you all are so impressed with Mr. Putin, why not go live there. Give my regards to Snowy, and let us know what Siberia is like in January. What a bunch of losers.

    February 28, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. kommy

    After spending 5 bln on promoting democracy, US got a brownshirt coup and Ukrainian army aligning with Russians.

    February 28, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. bob clark

    yeah, right..... just like you were so helpful to the country of Georgia when it was invaded by Russia !!!

    February 28, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. bob clark

    Does anybody here recall the famine caused by stalin in the 1930's by selling the wheat and corn of Ukraine overseas and taking it by force of arms from the farmers without payment ?

    February 28, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Mathew Abraham

    Russia must respect Ukrainian people need

    February 28, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. EX-Republican

    I don't care, we can not I repeat can not be the world's police force.

    February 28, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. biglio

    Lots of rigtwingers that don't remember that Bush Cheney were in charge when Russia invaded Georgia, and should we remember who got Bin Laden? Who is winning the war on terror bombing Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia?
    Obama is much more feared around the world than Bush, rest assured of that. And rest assured Putin doesn't want to mess up with him.

    February 28, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. sammy750

    The Republicans are anxious to start and go to war those like McCain, Graham, McConnell, yet they voted NO on a bill to help the Veterans when they return home. They have given the big corporations billions in tax relief annually, but cannot help those that protect this nation. They are charging college students a big interest on student loans, making $66 billions in interest. Again, Republicans seems to be on the wrong side when it comes to helping those that need it.
    It is time the old people, the seniors wake up and not elect them to office.

    February 28, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. One Angry Pawn

    2014: Russia invades Ukraine to protect national interests and the US/others cry fowl.

    2003: US/others invade Iraq in 2003 for similar reasons and Russia cries fowl.

    CNN: please do not report this as a "threat to world peace" just yet.. If US was Ukraine's neighbour, they'd do the same, no?

    February 28, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. eightio

    Mr. President: please stop destabilizing the situation in Ukraine by supporting illegitimate government, not approved by the acting democratically elected president. Or is this your real goal –– to push Ukraine deeper into political and economic crisis?

    February 28, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. PtBarnumBoy

    Oh heck, another war we can't pay for will do us all a lot of good.

    February 28, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. Amused Independent

    I never thought I think this, but I prefer him to stay out of the deep water, and continue his crusade to take from the middle class, and give to those that look like him. ('My brother's keeper') We're better if he is lying, destroying healthcare, and paying his friends. I certainly don't want him in charge of the military, running a war, with my sons of service age. Read Gates' comments. He is seriously in over his head on the foreign policy and military side. Most every person in the service that I've spoke with, speaks of widespread hatred for him and how they feel he doesn't support or believe what they were told to do.

    February 28, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. Kimmy

    The new PM is a central banker, and the IMF is ready to put the economic handcuffs on.
    Yet another country enslaved to Wall Street.

    February 28, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. texasjimbob

    If ordinary Americans like me are laughing at Obama's statement over Russian troops in the Ukraine, Putin must be rolling on the floor.

    February 28, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  23. JaTavious Jackson

    Send them some hope and change that should help.

    February 28, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Barry Johnson

    Dear President Obama, This is not organizing voters in the suburbs of Chicago. Putin wrestles bears before breakfast, and you play "Mulligan golf". You don't get Mulligans when playing with Putin.

    February 28, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. H. Broussard

    One thing's for sure. Obama ain't no Ronald Reagan.
    And another thing. Putin isn't shaking in his boots.
    Obama says we stand with the international community.
    Reagan would have led the international community.
    This is embarrassing.

    February 28, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
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