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. noodles

    deeply concerned
    deeply destabilizing
    very fluid
    coordinate closely
    communicate directly

    Anyone for a round of Buzzword Bingo?

    And the president is taking extreme liberties by claiming that "The United States" really concerned. Do all those citizens of the US who work hard every day to just make ends meet really, honestly give a darn about what goes on halfway around the world? Methinks the president is taking liberties, again, with his rhetoric.

    February 28, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Bill S.

    You can kiss Ukraine goodbye. It will be Putin's property before Christmas. (Remember how Assad, "Had to go?" He's still there.)

    February 28, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. chris

    yeah!! right Obama! the protesters RENEGED on a deal that they had signed SIX HOURS EARLIER! continued with their hostile acts of terrorism that you call "peaceful protesting" then ILLEGALLY overthrew the democratically elected govt!

    all after signing a deal that even YOU said was for the good of Ukraine! now that the protesters have usurped power for now,you want to side with them thinking that Russia will cave because of your lies.

    its about time for you and our country to stay out of the affairs of other nations! and you forgot to mention that (ONCE AGAIN) John the war hawk McCain was in their country inciting the masses to revolt against their own govt knowing full and well that if anyone here did the same thing,you would mow us all down and call us terrorist!

    February 28, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. smith

    Leave it alone Obama, Russia is not Syria or Iran.

    February 28, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Libertarian Atheist

    As if Obama, this biggest PU5SYIE of all time is going to do anything about it....he can be "concerned" all he wants. Nobody cares. Putin laughs at him.

    February 28, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Libertarian Atheist

    Obama scares nobody, especially Putin.

    February 28, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    we will defeat the americans!

    February 28, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Scott

    Hey Mr. President, the 80's called and they want their foreign policy back. REMEMBER ROMNEY SAID RUSSIA is our primary threat and Obama criticized him. Would you like ice cream with your HUMBLE pie Mr. President?

    February 28, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. chuckt

    You tell them boss, now go back to watching cartoon network and smoking your joint.

    February 28, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. EPAB

    What? No neo cons calling for military action yet?

    February 28, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. MFWIC

    Putin to Obama: Thanks for your "concern", but we got handled.

    February 28, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Maxim

    Sorry, but Russia does the right things! There are many Russian people who want the part of Russia. Plus, why USA can go in all countries, but others can't? The Russians is not going to fight, they will protect people from bad who took the Ukraine government! Please, don't make control all earth USA, thanks, you better improve the economy and life in the USA. There are many ( a lot of) people with out of a job.

    February 28, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. tom

    We just can not mind our own business.

    February 28, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    -–wel-done, it is a diplomacy, involve Europe, rest of the world, it does NOT become a drain on our treasury–just like two wars we had needlessly while main culprit hid in Pakistan happily that looted 30 billion dollars yearly from us. God bless this President.

    February 28, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Kendo

    How about we just worry about ourselves and stop with the smack talking. Worst president ever.

    February 28, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. Brian in DC

    Like Putin really cares what the man-child says.

    February 28, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. Brendan Wolfe

    Uh oh. It's going to be a major flashpoint between NATO and Russian Forces!

    February 28, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. geen

    imagine that! a president who is responsible for the deaths of 1683 of the 2313 ameicans senselessly killed in Afghanistan, a president who, like the moron who preceded him, invaded, made war upon, and occupied TWO SOVEREIGN country's, saying...this is the really BIG part...that HE EXPECTS RUSSIA TO HONOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF UKRAINE...'tis just too much for an intelligent mind to comprehend....I just give up..and especially when that clown he has as secy of state, says the same thing...I give up.

    February 28, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. A Democrat who's Honest about Obama

    And the nation breathes a sigh of indifference.

    February 28, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. @FoaRyan

    So whatever credit Putin got for helping avert an international crisis in Syria, looks like it's about to be cancelled out...

    February 28, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. CALIFORNIA

    Obama, the world knows you don't back up what you say. You're word means nothing.

    February 28, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. ALLuh

    If Mexico was at civil war, I'm just sure we would not tolerate Russian involvement, the Ukraine borders Russia, duh, stay the eff out of it, NONE of our business.

    February 28, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Jeff

    That's funny.. I don't FEEL deeply concerned..

    February 28, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. hbkjb

    Obama is all talk. He will do nothing but ask for sanctions that will never happen to Russia. This isn't some small terrorist group you can drone, and that seems to be Obama's only real action.

    February 28, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Ken

    Its none of our business Mr. President........

    February 28, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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