February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
9 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. glenview0818

    Right, so we don't want to go to war with Syria, but we will with Russia, better not be drawing any lines on the sand here. Putin is no wimp.

    February 28, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. susan

    Please, Please Mr. President, stay out of everybodys business!!! No more foreign conflicts now. Lets get out of
    Afghanistan etc. and let the UN handle things.

    February 28, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Ikoro Ikoro

    You got to be kidding me obama. Deeply troubling? that outta bring comfort to the Ukrainians we have a treaty with.

    February 28, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Conscience of a Conservative

    Negotiation without leverage is begging. There will be on American consequences.

    February 28, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. John

    Draw a red line on the snow!

    February 28, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Common Sense

    Does anyone anywhere in the world really care what Obama says anymore????? The bad guys aren't afraid of the paper tiger......they know he lacks the cojones to back up any "red line in the sand"

    February 28, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Jeremy

    poor ukrainians- such a beautiful people-

    February 28, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Jim

    Mr. President please don't make hollow threats. The world has so little respect for us now–your threats mean nothing!!

    February 28, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Ken Margo

    Like i said in the first post. Republican zombies calling the prez weak. I'll ask again. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Instead of crying from the safety of your home, give us some solutions.

    February 28, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. rick

    The Obama Regime has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and bases worldwide and he's worried about Russia?

    February 28, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. mike

    Bumbling fools. Kerry should be canned.

    February 28, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Bob123

    Hahaha. Another "red line" by our embarrassing excuse of a president. I'm sure former KGB thug Putin is quivering in fear about prospects of the community organizer giving him a harsh finger wagging lecture.

    February 28, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Common Sense

    we are at the hour of maximum danger today. We have a dangerous world, armed with dangerous weapons, capable of reaching any person on the planet, and we have a president perceived around the world as a wimp.........maximum danger......

    February 28, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Jake

    Obvious American retaliation strategy, have Putin die of laughter from Obama's speech.

    February 28, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Thomas

    "There will be cost." Really. Seriously? Now, who the hell believes that?

    February 28, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. michael

    I waited years for Obama to address the victims of L.B.J.s legacy. Well, he did that yesturday. Today, he finds himself in this situation. Not good.

    February 28, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Mark

    Don't step over the red line.

    February 28, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. John Mustard

    There isn't going to be anything but words. Who cares if Russia invades the Ukraine.

    February 28, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Joseph Blough

    The USA, an occupier to two countries and meddler in many more, is in no position to dictate to Russia. Our supplying weapons to the terrorists in Syria via the Saudi regime and other proxies has led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Syrians, so we are hardly in position to chastise Russia for safeguarding its own national security interests.

    February 28, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Becky

    So Obama wants to go to war with Russia when he is getting ready to cut the military to below WWII standards? Who is he going to get to fight? There is no one available; everyone on active due has battle fatigue.

    February 28, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Donald George MacDonald

    And the leaders of nations, movements and religions know that they need media compliance to help indoctrinate the malleable masses.

    And the media eagerly complies and parrots sensational indoctrination by the leaders to the malleable masses.

    And the media eagerly complies and parrots, knowing sensational indoctrination increases readership and profits.

    And the media complies and parrots the leaders’ sensational indoctrination, but the reasons for increasing media collusions and complicity with the leaders are far more sinister than mere compliance.

    And the sinister collusions and complicity between the media and leaders of nations, movements and religions have been orchestrated to further indoctrinate the malleable masses.

    And the collusions and complicity have been orchestrated to provide fears so the malleable masses self-justify and endorse their leaders' expanding and modernizing military might.

    February 28, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Namekoala

    its funny how Obama can rush into Syria with US military planes and help rebels but Russia cannot help the government that's in power in the Ukraine. we need to find out the majority of who wants what before we go in there and trying to throw Obama's new democracy at them. we have no right to tell any country how to live when our president can't even take care of the United States and help the people here, Obama is scared of Russia and their president because the world is holding him in higher standards than they have for Obama because he has done so much and trying to overthrow the government in Syria and Egypt by funding the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.

    February 28, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Greenspam

    There will be a civil war. Russia will of course get involved, now my question is... will EU or USA get involved?

    February 28, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Roboyd01

    Well if we leave the war in Afghanistan, we have to put those troops somewhere right? Otherwise, they might not be able to justify massive military spending and they might actually have to look at our domestic problems. Or maybe Obama is sad that he didn't get to compete in the olympics and feels that he can take home the gold in this new event: political pandering and war mongering. Personally, I think he's got a chance.

    February 28, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Madmedic

    Please your words only fool the common sheep of America. Obama is a coward.......

    February 28, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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