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. M.W.

    to the barricades!!!! lets fight Russia!!!!! oeloeloleoleoeleoeoeoeoeoeleoeleo

    February 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. misterflibble1

    Czar Putin wants to expand his country.

    February 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Abbey

    Pull'em out of Afghanistan and send them somewhere else. Typical Democrats, they just loath the U.S. Armed forces.

    February 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Tom

    Good thing Obama is cutting our military down to pre-ww2 levels. I'm sure nothing will happen between now and the next few years. Oh wait.......

    February 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. jason

    Sochi showed us the Russian people are wonderful but the Russian government seems a lot like Ford or Chevy Headquarters. Private elevators and doors so they don't have to intermingle with us common folks and totally out of touch with reality.

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Zeus Crankypants

    Well. That speech was an improvement. At least this time Obama didn't offer any lines that he would have to step back from.

    He's getting better at this.

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. gopdumpsterfire

    Obama's p_ssy must really be hurting.

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. John Tater

    There is little we can do, but the tide of history will not be stopped. People want to be free.

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. owen

    Does anyone really believe President Obama will do anything, or that Putin is at all worried about at US response?

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. IpseCogita

    Hmm. A war in the Crimea between Russia and the main western power. Last time we did this there were amazing, world changing improvements in healthcare. This has potential...

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Mopery

    That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid...

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Jason

    What is it our business? If they deploy troops to bring stability to nation. If you look at all the places we've gotten involved with since Bush it has been one epic failure after another. Now you want to play macho with the big dog on the block??

    February 28, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. .Randy Edgar

    no one is afraid of our country's threat. We have seen from Syria how we will back down. It is a shame how much our country has fallen. Who in their right mind would be afraid of the United States. We believe anything that we are told and allow atrocities to go on all over the world including our own country.

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Scarface86

    By costs, the President means the U.N. will send Putin a strongly worded letter.

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. dskolasinsky

    Russians and Ukraines have been close for thousands of years. Let's stay out of their business...it's not really ANY of our concern.

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. SixDegrees

    Putin's got nothing to worry about.

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. jon

    The US isn't going to do anything. Obama has succeeded in stripping the backbone from this country. We no longer have any backbone that is necessary to fight a major war the likes of which we would be in with the Russian Federation IF we were to try–TRY to push them out of the Ukraine.

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. bill n

    If we were throwing out Obama do you think he would send in troops to stop it?

    February 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. TTe Tom

    Good thing we scaled down the military, the toothless Obama nation.

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    What? No redline?

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. YeahRight

    There aren't "troop movements" in the Ukraine. There is a Russian military expeditionary invasion cutting communications lines and taking over sea and air ports in preparation for a full scale invasion.

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Bill

    "Fear not my fellow Americans. I will use my pen to draw a red line and my phone to call my advisors and get talking points when I don't follow through on my threats." Here we go again. Face it. The international community doesn't take this President seriously at all. They know as soon as they call his bluff he'll back down because he's full of hot air and nothing more.

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. David Cech

    I know you think otherwise Mr. President, but there is not much you can do about it. You all thought Cold War was over but it never was.

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. TheBigT

    Obama, please stay out of this. We do not want more wars and more debt.

    February 28, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Inhoc1855

    Is this another 'Red Line'? If it is I'm sure Putin is shaking in his boots.

    February 28, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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