March 2nd, 2014
01:34 PM ET
7 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. Just Say It

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," Kerry said.....Oh you mean like the US did with Iraq

    March 2, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Chad Nordstrom

    "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."

    You don't? Really?! Doesn't the U.S. government do this once a week or so?

    March 2, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. dwicjan

    So boycott the G8 summit in Sochi. Let all the G8 countries tell Putin that they will not meet in Sochi in June. Russia is only protecting its citizens and bases in the Crimea area as the US would in any places that we have bases or other interests.

    March 2, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Bronson Kaahui

    "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."

    The hypocrisy is tangible. What do you think the United States has been doing for decades?

    March 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    McCain and Graham are incompetent fools from the Kissinger school of foreign affairs.

    March 2, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. papertiger

    What a waste of military spending if we do nothing in situations like this

    March 2, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Kenneth Melchor

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," Is he talking about Irak... maybe? Russia is by far the worst side, but the USA has nothing to say about either...

    March 2, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. barryinlasvegas

    Oooh – Putin is scared – Kerry rebuked him. The world doesn't know who to laugh at the hardest – Kerry or Obama.

    March 2, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. dwicjan

    So the G8 countries should just say "No" to this June meeting in Sochi and hold it elsewhere. Putin and Russia are only protecting their people and bases in Crimea. The US and all other countries would do the same.

    March 2, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Escher7

    Republicans. Lending comfort to the enemy. Bordering on treason.

    March 2, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. rs

    I am completely sick and tired of the GOP's anti-Americanism and anti-government foolishness. Do they not see that by irrationally tearing down our government, our diplomats and our President, they do far more to degrade America's image abroad with our allies and our adversaries than the President's thoughtful, diplomatic response. You might have noticed that the GOP has offered no solution at all to this diplomatic issue, and the Mighty Midgets are about to discover they have no control over G-8 membership.

    The GOP furthers their foolishness by failing to recognize that 50% of the population of the Ukraine are ethnic Russian- hello? Does the term "civil war" ring a bell with these fools? The Ukraine was Russian 30 years ago, and it is no surprise that a sizable population of the Ukraine want back into Russia, especially after the disaster of their current leadership.

    Butt out GOP until you say something useful- the Ukraine simply isn't a burning priority for our nation right now.

    March 2, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Someone RICH

    Go ahead Mr. Kerry, make my day~V. Putin

    March 2, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. corvusrex96

    The coup in kiev was illegal the reaction by Russia was predictable and and quite frankly the right one

    March 2, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. John W.

    "Possible Sanctions"?? The Russians have already invaded Ukraine. The time for sanctions is "yesterday"! Where are you Mr. President?

    March 2, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Lee Hutchinson

    "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."

    so explain iraq mr Kerry

    March 2, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. TOJMN

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

    WMD.

    March 2, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. InTime

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," Kerry said.. Oh no? Then what was Iraq all about?? The blunt hypocrisy is absolutely amazing.

    March 2, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Don Fargo

    "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."

    Um... unless your name is George Bush?

    March 2, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. JakeF

    Lindsey Graham states that "Obama needed to offer more than just threats".

    Like what Mr. Graham.... like what?

    March 2, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Ixion

    So, Why not just land US/EU troops in the Ukraine and make sure Russia stays in the Crimea? If mr Putin would like to glow in the dark, he will go ahead and start shooting at US/EU forces.

    Now the objective is to keep Russia where it is and make sure Putin dose not get any ideas about taking the rest of the Ukraine.

    March 2, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Andrew

    I hope the "Keep our mouths shut because it's none of our damn business" option is still on the table. Europe is less concerned than America. That should tell you something.

    March 2, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Danny

    “all options are on the table” Is this a joke? Surely he can't be serious...

    March 2, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Maxim Shkunov

    Are you kidding us? Get a real reporter to Crimea, Kharkov, Donetsk and all other cities and let him to take an interview! Let him ask real people( hundred thousands of people) what do they want or need. People are begging for help agains so called new Ukrainian government ! They pray Moscow to help! They pray defense against people from maidan who come with a weapon! Clear you mind and remember the way USA intervented into Cosovo, the way you "helped" without asking! Your politics make me laugh! How can they judge sitting on the other side of a planet having no idea about real things going on there! Shame on you, people!

    March 2, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. john rosen

    All options are on the table???????????? Does He and Obama mean something similar to "the red line deal" in Syria. One of the first thing one learns as a parent is "don't say it if you don't mean it". Both Obama and Kerry are like frick and frack. Whatever standing we had in the world is being eroded at an alarming rate by both of these people.

    March 2, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Pablo695

    "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."

    REALLY? Sounds just like Iraq!!! Grenada!!! Panama!!! And so many others....

    March 2, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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