February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
8 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. Jabohio

    So Obama cuts our defense to pre-World War II numbers, then threatens Russia? Logistically this seems flawed

    February 28, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. julia

    U.S. out of Ukraine ! U.S. of Iraq ! The American people are sick and tired of Washington's imperial madness and we 300 million Americans will not tolerate one drop of American blood or one dime of our treasury being spilled on this nonsense !

    February 28, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. it must be said

    But the Russians invading the Ukraine is yet another great achievement of the Obama administration and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You see, they pushed the Russian Reset button because they claimed things were so bad because of Bush. Well, one thing is for certain, the Russians have reset to their old empire building ways and the USA has reset to disarmament because Obama doesn't believe we need to be strong as that is threatening.

    Obama, being played for the naive, inexperienced little fool we all knew he was by a cagey ex-KGB chess master.

    February 28, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Donna

    Putin is spitting in Obama's face every chance he gets and daring the wimp to do something about it. He made Obama look like a fool with Syria and now he's doing the same thing in the Ukraine. Is it any wonder after Obama tells the world we are going to virtually dismantle our military by bringing it to pre-WWII levels.

    The inept, incompetent clown in the White House believes our military is too threatening and must be neutered. Putin sees this and says thank you very much, I think I'll have another country. Obama's clueless lead from behind, and now strength through weakness strategies are telling everybody just do whatever you want, invade your neighbors, we don't care and are too weak to do anything.

    February 28, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. just asking

    weren't obama and kerry cracking wise about this not being the cold war? guess what fools, you may not think so but others like putin sure are thinking along those lines. and now that obama has proven himself to be nothing but a gas filled empty suit, putin will have his way with him, just as he did in syria. obama, our feckless paper tiger meows i am deeply concerned, meow, meow.

    February 28, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  6. billmelater1

    Oh yea Putin is SOOOOOO scared. A paper tiger does not scare any won.

    February 28, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. billmelater1

    Lets see Obama has spent the last 5 years making us a 3rd world country and he want to be like a 1st world country?
    How dumb do you have to be? OH you just have to be a Liberal / Democrat.

    February 28, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. Sadie

    Let's try minding our own business for a change. What makes the president think he is God almighty? Stop trying to start new wars because with the way our government has been reducing the pay, and other benefits for the military, there will be absolutely no one willing to fight for America. I'm a veteran and I wouldn't offer to help recruit anyone for our military whereas before obama became president, I would've been the first person to promote joining the military...not now, not ever.

    March 1, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. Good Lick

    So Obama is dismantling the military and expects to have any force in international relations. It is easy for Putin to call the bluff and do what he wants, Onama foreign and military policy is weak, as seen when Putin showed him up on Syria.

    March 1, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  10. Armando Dias

    His language and body already shows there is no fight in him. Russia is determined to keep Ukraine. Don't see why US is so worried when there are hundreds of people hungry and without Power over here. He should concentrate on USA not on some bankrupt nation. After Syria this looks like one huge gamble taken out of spite to defeat Russia politically. US did not count on Russia's Putin. He is more than willing to put boots on the grounds.

    March 1, 2014 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  11. Petr

    I express my deep respect for the President of the United States! U.S. divide and conquer! United States to rule the world! U.S. arrange, organize the world's war! U.S. profit even from death! U.S. administered and Ukraine and revolution in Ukraine cleverly organized together with Germany and Poland! After the Ukraine the U.S. probably will come to me in Russia and I have to defend my life! As had to defend the Indians, Mexicans, Vietnamese, Serbs, Libyans, Syrians and many others.

    March 1, 2014 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  12. notnecessary

    ""there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine""? Whose COSTS? US Taxpayer Costs? Obama is toying with words again, like "you can keep your Doctor".

    March 1, 2014 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  13. Lizzie

    The Crimea area is more aligned with Russia the the rest of the Ukraine, they want to be part of Russia. They have no problem with Russia being there.

    March 1, 2014 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  14. Lizzie

    Remember this is the same President who said to the Russians, after the election I have more flexibility, the same President who removed all missiles from the European borders, because Russia said it's threatening them.

    March 1, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  15. daviddavid

    CNN trying damage control now – the 2014 midterms will be a blood bath for Democrats.. Obama's approval is at 37% and FALLING.. Less than 31% of people support ObamaCare.. Democrats are turning on Obama now to try and save face.. Even the female vote is leaving Obama.. Turns out that Democrats are the anti-women party.. Truth is ugly.. but it is the truth.. We Americans will take back the Senate in 2014 and will retain control of the House as well.. Obama is a lame duck in the first year of his second term.. Great job OB!

    March 1, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    No new wars–read my lips. Enough wars instigated by GOP garbage. Let world deal. USA is not police to the rest of the world.

    March 1, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. g

    please tell putin ,only the United states of America has the right to invade any body.if it was on one of Americas borders troops would all ready be crossing the border

    March 1, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  18. James

    The teleprompter speaks big words...

    March 1, 2014 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  19. g

    seems like a lot of Americans want a war,and really don,t care with who.eventually they will end up like all the other war mongers

    March 1, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  20. salty dog

    Let's just get this over with and declare war on the world, and give the military industrial complex all our tax dollars.

    March 1, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  21. salty dog

    This is exactly what Eisenhower and Kennedy warned us of, using politics to fuel the war machine, enriching the elite group if contractors . They not only take your money, but feed your kids to it, made in the USA cannon fodder.

    March 1, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  22. reggie53

    Do you honestly think that Putin cares what Obama says. He knows Obama is a weak president and that he is all talk and no action. America has really lost its leading role in the world under Obama because he has no leadership skills. The man does not know what he doing and we will suffer for his inadequate role as being our president. Say goodbye to our strong America...we are now as weak as these 3rd world countries.

    March 1, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Mike in Texas

    Interesting to see a bunch of names who never or rarely post popping up to bash Obama. Like Ken Margo said in an earlier post to those calling the President weak; what would you do? Drop a bomb on Moscow? Send troops into Crimea to fight the Russians? I mean seriously. You oppose Obama no matter what he does. If he said he wanted to send troops you would be all over his jock on that. We can't be the world's police and go around and have troops in every world conflict. Hell if McCain were President we would have had WWIII already and Romney would have dropped a bomb on Iraq to please his school pal.

    March 1, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Mike in Texas

    When a suicide bomber killed hundreds of our Marines in Lebanon what did Reagan do? He got the hell out. I'm sure a lot of these comments bashing Obama were Reagan supporters or children of Reagan supporters. Reagan avoided major conflicts and focused on little things like Greneda. If what happened in Lebanon was under Obama's watch, those Reagan supporters would have called him weak and spineless.

    March 1, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. wendel

    haven't heard any repos with ideas on what to do. Im sure they would like to get in a war. That seems to be their strategy for everything.

    March 1, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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