February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
6 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. J-Man

    Obama has zero credibility. Putin and the rest of the world think he is a joke. So glad we sent over the gay Olympic delegation as a statement. The problem was it was a statement of Obama's weakness. Putin is a KGB Commando / Operative. He has just as much respect for Community Organizer Obama as he does for the dog crap he scraped from his boot with a stick. Barry also has great timing announcing the massive reduction in the budget and size of the US Military. Putin is shaking in his boots....

    February 28, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Warren

    This ain't about Obama, don't get stuck on stupid. The USA BETTER stand up to Russia.

    February 28, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Captain

    Something Stinks from this WH. There are 100,000+ troops on US soil, some reports saying they are here 'to kill americans"... see stevequayle site, or watchmenofamerica site, or others.

    February 28, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. anticom

    we have to order iron curtain in china

    February 28, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. relians

    so why don't we leave venezuela alone?

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

    When is he going to be drawing that red line that only he see's

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

    Obama is such a joke. "If you continue to act this way, I might even write you an angry letter. Don't make me do it!"

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

    Time for the big showdown! Are you ready to rumble!

    February 28, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Olaf Big

    U.S. has no hand to play in the Ukraine. If Russia decides to interfere, it will, and there is absolutely nothing U.S. can do about it. It would be politically much smarter for Obama to work the diplomatic channels out of the public eye and leave it to Biden to give the perfunctory expression of concern.

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

    If Americans like me are laughing at Obama's statement over Russian troops in the Ukraine, Putin must be rolling on the floor.

    February 28, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. Crusader00

    Affairs in Ukraine have serious consequences for Russia, not for us.

    When the US meddles in Mexico's affairs, dealing directly with drug cartels and even arming them (Fast and Furious), Russia and the international community was not threatening us, because it was our business.

    Ukraine is Russia's business. The President would be wise to rebuke McCain and the other Zionist hawks, and leave East European affairs to the regional players.

    PS: Good luck Putin! Hope his sly invasion topples the ZOG regime the reimposed establishment hoisted upon the nationalistic protestors who just did the dirty work for them, and restores Yanukovych, the REAL President of Ukraine.

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

    When the President says stay out of the Ukraine or else... Let's hope he means it in a there's a Red Line in Syria kind of way.

    February 28, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. tet1953

    Let Putin have Crimea, who cares? A new cold war is preferable to proxy wars all over the hemisphere.

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

    Obama just says whatever people want to hear at the time. I hope Ukrainians understand that.

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

    Obama warns Putin,"Don't make me come over there!" We would be mince meat against the Russians.

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

    If Russia doesn't leave Ukraine, Obama will make speech and talk bad about them. He will draw red lines all over Ukraine maps and dare Russia to cross over each line. If they cross the line he will make additional bad remarks about them and ask people to stop buying vodka.

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. BigWaffles

    Somehow when Obama talks about “cost” it usually works out to mean a higher cost to middle class americans. This time the currency will be in blood.

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Taken4granted

    The problem here is that Obama has already made a promise that he will not create a war when he took office. So if Russia's stance right now is to invade Crimea, what do you think the US President will do? Russia knows Obama's stand on war. Hmmm, something to ponder. Well EU should react because it is in their doorstep. But we do not hear much of rhetoric speeches here...

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. kommy

    Crimea is historically Russian land , it is populated Russians, and given new low-standards of allegiance and governance in Ukraine, Crimea can go whenever and wherever it wants.

    Simple expression of the mob in front of the Crimean Parliament is good enough.

    Thank you, president Obama!

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. dmojavensis

    The US has to intervene according to the 1994 treaty with the Ukraine, where the latter gave up their nuclear weapons in return for guarantees of protection from multiple countries, including the US.

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. yogi

    Putin is nostalgic about the Soviet Union, he doesn't mind to get the strategic Crimea into Russian hands, and even though it is Ukrainian Territory, Putin will try to get in there with false pretenses of protecting the Russian population. Putin is a dictator, his face at the Winter Olympics was nothing more than showing the world how great he is, whereas in reality he is a cold and extremely insecure man.

    February 28, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Nate

    Please Mr. President, you have absolutely NO credibility with the rest of the world. N. Korea, Iran, Syria are laughing at you. Soon Putin will be laughing at you too!

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. Frank

    Perhaps Obama should look in the mirror in regards to intervening in the issues and affairs of foreigns nations.

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. neil

    Please Mr. President, no more empty rhetoric.

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Michael Means

    Soooo Asaad is not an issue, but Putin is...I see how that is. Putin is former KGB in the second (possibly 3rd) most powerful country in the world. That is a RUSSIAN/UKRANIAN issue, let them deal with it unless Congress and the POTUS are ready to strap on an M4 and lead everyone into a battle.

    February 28, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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