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. jerrylax

    guess what obama, Russia couldn't care less what you think. They do as they please knowing you are a powder puff, as they take their place as the leader of the free world….as they say. Not since carter have we lost so much credibility around the world…what a mess. Meanwhile look at who obama sent to the olympics to make a point on LGBT rights, he plays games and the Russians do not. Time for adult leadership in DC.

    February 28, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. American Worker

    'There will be cost.'

    Imaginary Red Lines, lip service, Cairo Speech green light to Islamist, peace through capitulation, ...

    February 28, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. FT

    Why is it a surprise to anyone that Russia only waited the end of the Olympics to meddle in Ukraine? Even the blind could see that.

    February 28, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. AKSantom

    I am still waiting for Obama to get to the bottom of and hold people responsible for Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, and NSA? Now he is going to go after Putin?? Putin is farting in Obama's general direction

    February 28, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Common Sense

    tough words from a not-so-tough person.............I am just so positive Putin is shaking in his boots at the talk, and it is just talk, from Obama. America is in decline, most of it lays at the feet of this arrogant fool

    February 28, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. rad666

    Does Russia have WMDs?

    February 28, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Jeff

    "let the UN handle things." Are you serious? I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

    February 28, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. Robert Dupuy1

    Ukraine does deserve to determine its own future, and that would mean that the U.S. wouldn't be running CIA operations inside the country to influence the elections – oh they did that leading up the Orange 'revolution'.'

    So it means they wouldn't be coordinating with Ukraine's leaders on how to respond – oh they are doing that.

    I put the odds that Russia will invade Ukraine at zero point zero percent.

    But, on the subject of integrity of sovereign nations – thats a lesson Russia – and especially the United States needs to learn.

    Obama just can't talk on this subject, he, like all recent U.S. presidents has no credibility on the subject.

    February 28, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. Enough

    Do you really think Putin is worried about Obama?

    February 28, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Dale

    "It you don't stop [Putin] we [the USA] won't let you fly our astronauts to the ISS, how to like that" President Obama.

    February 28, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Zeev

    'There will be costs' and the administration is probably hard at work figuring out how to subsidize the invasion costs that Putin is incurring...

    February 28, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. mike

    Mr Putin was prepared, swift, and decisive. Mr Obama is unprepared, slow, and non-committal. We are being schooled by the zen master of taking advantage of a leadership vacuum.

    February 28, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Andrewmag166

    Oh haha he fired all the soldiers and cut all the weapons programs, what's he gonna do have kids throw rocks at the Russians?

    February 28, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. btldriver

    What is Obama going to do. Hagel is trying to cut the military even more than it already is and now Obama wants to make threats? I see this as a scene from Andy Griffith show where Barney Fife gets all worked up but can't get his gun out of the holster and ends up shooting his foot (maybe I'm combining scenes but you get the point). Putin will laugh at us and just move in with no real action being taken but a bunch of US and or UN threats with no real action behind them. The area is lost and Russia starts getting bloc countries again. The Soviet Union is returning.

    February 28, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. jimmyjimjim

    Russia could take Crimea, but if the US and the EU hold firm they will back down.

    February 28, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Mark P

    If the US lands troops at Guantanamo, have we invaded Cuba?

    February 28, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Hemp is Harmless

    I find the lack of respect on this board for the Commander in Chief of the United States of America more troubling than Putin's death wish.

    February 28, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Ed

    Russian troops in the Ukraine-Russian ships in Cuba–Thank you mr snowden
    \

    February 28, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. James

    Just more BS line in the sand talk..

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Reggie

    Oh great! He's going out with a BANG.

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Ralf Smith

    Russia isn't going to invade Ukraine, because Ukraine is no enemy to them.

    But, Obama could listen to his own words, and not interfere in Ukraine. Whenever they are ready – go ahead and start.

    Bush certainly interfered – it's well known that he had CIA operations that were designed to influence the outcome the elections in 2004 – so much for the sovereignty of a nation! So much for democracy – if democracy can be bought, and is bought by a foreign country – that's not any type of real democracy.

    Obama, for a scholar, you might want to think about the implications of full force interference policy that the U.S. runs year in and year out – and continues to run, and which you continue to support.

    lol

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

    I guess we who are not big fans of the president should be careful of our criticism here....We could end up a victim of the IRS..........

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. Bill inVA

    So Obama says there will be costs. Sounds like he will make them sign up for Obamacare. That should end this. Putin isn't that stupid.

    Why does Obama speak when he and everyone else knows he will do nothing? I am not saying we should do anything. But if you talk tough, you need to be ready to act tough.

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. JoJo

    Time to give that Nobel Peace Prize back

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. Brian

    We can be deeply concerned all we want as long as we do so from a distance. We don't have a dog in this fight. Let the EU take on Russia and see how quickly they remember just why they aren't speaking already speaking russian.

    February 28, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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