March 2nd, 2014
01:34 PM ET
6 months ago

Kerry rebukes Russia's 'incredible act of aggression' in move into Ukraine

Updated 9:15 a.m. ET, 3/3/2014

(CNN) - Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sharply denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin's "stunning, willful" actions in Crimea, characterizing the move as an "invasion" and saying “all options are on the table” as far as a U.S. response.

"You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," Kerry said, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation."

International leaders prepare to 'isolate' Russia

In interviews with three U.S. television networks on Sunday, Kerry also said foreign leaders are prepared to put sanctions in place to "isolate Russia economically" if Putin does not roll back his forces in Crimea, an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to neighboring Russia. He said options could include visa bans, asset freezes and isolation by the international community on trade and investment, as well as Russia losing its spot in the G8.

"The G8 plus some others and all of them, every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion," he said on CBS.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday the best leverage the U.S. can exert for now is "financial."

"The Achilles Heel for Russia is their economy–the ruble," the California Republican said on CNN's "New Day."

"We have to lead and we have to rally Europe around a series of steps that would actually impact the Russians economically: sanctions against state-owned banks," he added.

Obama on Ukraine: The U.S. is 'deeply concerned'

Kerry said Sunday that there are still plausible alternatives available to Putin, telling ABC that Russia could work toward a diplomatic solution with the U.S. and the United Nations, and could call for observers to be put in Ukraine.

"There are all kinds of alternatives. But Russia has chosen this aggressive act which really puts in question Russia's role in the world, and Russia's willingness to be a modern nation and part of the G8," Kerry said on ABC's "This Week."

Kerry condemns Russia's 'invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory'

Kerry said that while the U.S. is keeping its options open, escalated military involvement would "not serve the world well."

"The last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of situation," Kerry said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Will Putin heed Obama's warning?

Putin's military moves in Crimea further stress already weakened ties between the U.S. and Russia.

In a lengthy phone call with Putin over the weekend, Obama condemned the Russian leader's actions in Crimea, saying that Putin is in violation of international law, according to the White House. The administration announced it would suspend participation in preparatory meetings for the G8 summit that will bring world leaders together in June in Sochi, Russia.

"President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there are a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don't choose to invade a country in order to do that," Kerry said on CBS.

Asked what impact, if any, Obama's call had on Putin's mindset going forward in the crisis, the secretary of state said, "We are going to have to wait and see, but I think it was a very important conversation."

Kerry repeated that Putin's actions are "unacceptable" and could bring "serious repercussions" if they continue.

He called on Congress to help implement a series of economic sanctions against Russia aimed at helping Ukraine, an idea that has gained traction on both sides of the aisle as a bipartisan group of 12 senators from the Foreign Relations Committee expressed support for U.S. assistance in the crisis.

Partisan split on Obama's response to Russia

Speaking at the White House on Friday, Obama warned that Russia should not use military force to change the fate of Ukraine, underscoring the need for Ukrainian independence.

Republicans call on Obama to act on Ukraine

Lawmakers were split, unsurprisingly down party lines, on the effectiveness of Obama's public rebuke of the Russian president.

"I think Putin is playing chess and we're playing marbles," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on "Fox News Sunday."

"They've really been running circles around us. And I think it's really the naive position on the National Security Council and the President's advisers that if we just keep giving things to Russia, they'll wake up and say, 'Well, the United States isn't all that bad.' That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what it does," the Michigan Republican added.

Lawmakers call for suspension of Russia from G8, swift action against Putin

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" that Obama needed to offer more than just threats as Putin ramps up military involvement in Crimea.

Democrats quickly rose to Obama's defense.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, also appearing in Fox, said that critics should concentrate their attacks on Putin, not Obama.

"We're 48 hours into an international crisis. I would hope Americans are focused on condemning the actions of Putin rather than in a knee-jerk way again criticizing the President of the United States. Let's stand together on this," the Maryland Democrat said.


Filed under: Chris Van Hollen • John Kerry • Lindsey Graham • Mike Rogers • President Obama • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. tom l

    Need I remind you Rudy that it was president Obama that said there would be "costs". So, rather than asking what repubs would do, let's focus on what matters. What will Obama do here?

    March 3, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "So is this the result of Obama's "flexibility" or Clinton's busted reset button?"

    "Ahhhh... I see. Blame Bush, blame Bush, blame Bush, and throw out a rhetorical talking point. You've outdone yourself on this one, Rudy."
    -------------------------
    I didn't blame Bush. You did. You're the one who pointed "Clinton's busted reset" button. I simply pointed out what it was that they've been trying to fix..... ....nearly a decade of that failed foreign policy known as the "Bush Doctrine", and failed economic policy known "trickle down", but Bush called it "helping/protecting the job creators."

    March 3, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    CryBabies

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy....Sequester was as much Obamas doing as it was Congress. Remember he did not want to negotiate? No of course you don't....your brain leans left on ALL situations. Spin me Rudy, Spin me!!!
    ----------------------------
    Don't you remember that it was the Affordable Care Act that Republicans had wanted to negotiate? Of course, not.

    March 3, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    Need I remind you Rudy that it was president Obama that said there would be "costs". So, rather than asking what repubs would do, let's focus on what matters. What will Obama do here?
    ---------------------------
    Do you have any idea of what you're talking about? Of course, not. I'd bet you think that when the 1st Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, ..." that means the government cannot establish a religion of its' own.

    March 3, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Expat American

    Koleman – thank you for your post.
    Zaga – I agree with the first half of your post.

    March 3, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    You most certainly DID blame bush –

    This is the result of the U.S. kicking dirt in Putin's face under Bush-43. – Blame Bush #1

    This is the result of U.S. military that's expended itself fighting two decade long wars. – Blame Bush #2

    This is the result of an economy, which crashed under Bush, that can no longer afford to spend more money than the next ten top militaries combined. – Blame Bush #3

    Eyes a little bloodshot this morning, Rudy?

    March 3, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. LBalaur

    Invading another country on completely trumped up pretext ? You mean like Iraq WMDs?

    March 3, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. CryBabies

    Wake Up People.....Its not about race! You want us to support President Obama and this situation? FIne!!! What are we supporting??? Give us something to put our support behind. Going to a DNC fundraiser does not give us much to support. I urge you to stop reading "racism" into all situations Obama. Speaking for MYSELF, I have NEVER, NEVER looked at this Presidents policies and opposed them because of his color . NEVER!!!!! Its his policies and Only his policies!

    March 3, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Don Parker

    Kerry is comical "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," Kerry said.

    A few months ago did we not threaten to attack Syria? Come on guys, lets not add hypocritical to the list of incompetant verbs you already attained.

    March 3, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Marty

    The Senkaku Islands will be next.

    March 3, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. CryBabies

    Rudy..Thats right, And President Obama said NO to negotiating it or even considering talking about it. And in the end, look at the mess we got.

    March 3, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    Regardless of who is in the Oval Office. It does major harm to our country for our elected officials to go on TV bashing the damn POTUS. We need a united front. I'm surprised every damn country in the world isn't ready to attack us. I seem to remember being TOLD if I didn't support then President Bush during wartime, I was a traitor. I guess that sentiment doesn't apply to THIS POTUS.

    It's sickening. And I hate this racist, bigoted country. I freeking hate it!
    --------
    It's Putin playing Obama like a cheap fiddle... take it up with him.

    March 3, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. LBalaur

    Also I'm wondering. “all options are on the table” – does it mean that we considering nuking russia? Since ALL options are...

    March 3, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    You most certainly DID blame bush. ... ... Eyes a little bloodshot this morning, Rudy?
    -----------------------
    I didn't blame Bush. You did if for me. You're the one who pointed "Clinton's busted reset" button. I simply pointed out what it was that they've been trying to fix. You're the one who initially brought it up. In a way, I was agreeing with you. They have had a difficult time trying to "reset" America's image, particularly with Putin. Bush would barely speak to the man. He thunbed his nose at him for his entire two terms.

    March 3, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    CryBabies

    Rudy..Thats right, And President Obama said NO to negotiating it or even considering talking about it. And in the end, look at the mess we got.
    ------------------------
    Yeah, we got a government shutdown out of it. You're being most misleading, and you've been caught.

    "Sequester was as much Obamas doing as it was Congress. Remember he did not want to negotiate?"

    You were trying to blame the militay cust on the sequester, which occurred BEFORE Republicans shut down the government under the pretense that Obama didn't want to negotiate. You don't negotiate with terrorists who take hostages.

    March 3, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Cortez62

    Does ANDERSEN COOPER or WOLF BLIZTER even remember the Obaima vs Romney debates regarding Russia ?? I am not a fan of either Dem or Rep, but on this matter, Obama was so off the mark he proved his ineptitude

    March 3, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. salty dog

    Look, bush damaged us in the face of the world, you can't seriously expect them to cooperate with us. The gpp likes war, for those who think Putin is spanking Obama, why do you think were more obligated to act, where's Britain, France, Germany? Our army is in no shape to occupy four nations, that's essentially what you want, others only hear the boy crying wolf.

    March 3, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Cortez62

    Does ANDERSEN COOPER or WOLF BLIZTER even remember the Obaima vs Romney debates regarding Russia ?? I am not a fan of either Dem or Rep, but on this matter, Obama was so off the mark he proved his ineptitude
    ----------------------
    Why don't you tell us what was said, instead of promoting innuendo. Here's what I rmember. Romney had started to light into Obama over the size of the military, arguing that it couldn't handle a Soviet threat. Romney had pointed out that the current Navy has fewer ships than it did at the start of World War I, nearly a hundred years ago. Obama seemed to have had a one-liner ready for him when he pointed out that we have fewer horses, too. Maybe it wasnt' horses, but whatever it was, the point was made that we don't have a lot of obsolete things anymore.

    March 3, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. bobo

    America in 2016....... Constant Unemployment of 7 to 8%, lowest job participation rate since 1978, No hope for better jobs, an Iranian nuclear weapon, a New Russian empire, WWIII........... Thanks Obama!

    March 3, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Humbrrto

    I don't see how Russia violated international law when the elected president of Ukraine is in Russia

    March 3, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Humbrrto

    The other people were appointed after using force

    March 3, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Humbrrto

    So how are the minorities supposed to defend themselves if all you gotta do is promote anarchy and riot ?

    March 3, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Humbrrto

    I don't see how Russia violated international law when the elected president of Ukraine is in Russia
    ------------------------
    Well. I suggest that you find out. It has something to do with a treaty that Russia had signed with Ukraine concerning the final disposition of their post-Soviet era nuclear weapons they found themselves sitting on after the CCCP collapsed.

    March 3, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. CryBabies

    Rudy...Romney said that Russia was the USAs number one geo-political threat in the world and that Iran was the country posing the biggest threat of "terrorism". Obama chided him and said that the "Cold war" was over and had been since the 80's. Romney said make no mistake , he had eyes on Russia and that his sight was not comprimised by "rose colored" glasses. So obviously, you pick and choose the talking points that promote your left leaning bias, as you consistently do.

    March 3, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. What was really said

    Putin you can't play police! That's our job!

    March 3, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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