Obama defends handling of Ukraine crisis
March 25th, 2014
01:05 PM ET
4 months ago

Obama defends handling of Ukraine crisis

The Hague, Netherlands (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his response to Russia's military led annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

At a news conference after a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands, Obama noted that Moscow could face further sanctions should Russian forces invade other parts of Ukraine.

He issued a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


"He just has to understand there is a choice to be made here," Obama said.

The President's remarks came one day after the group of industrialized nations effectively suspended Russia's membership over the Crimea matter, meaning the G8 is again the G7.

Obama rejected the notion of his 2012 election rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, that Russia is the top geopolitical foe of the U.S, adding he is more worried about a "nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan."

"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors," Obama said, adding Moscow's actions are "not out of strength but out of weakness."

He argued the fate of Crimea is "not a done deal," even as he agreed Russia controls the situation on the ground.

While Obama has ruled out military action in Ukraine and agreed Russia will not be dislodged by force from the occupied peninsula, he suggested economic sanctions could prompt Putin to reverse course.

A senior administration official said the President was not discussing intelligence when he made the remark about a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. He was referring to his concern about nuclear terrorism, one of the key reasons for this week's summit.

A spokesman for the nuclear summit said the leaders gathered at The Hague were presented a fictitious dirty bomb scenario that would test their crisis management skills.

Each of the leaders participated in a two- to three-minute scenario that took place in a made up city.

The leaders were given a tablet and they anonymously played, given four options and then asked what they would do.


Filed under: Mitt Romney • President Obama • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Dean

    If Obama did the right thing initially, he wouldn't need to defend himself now. He just can't seem to bend over fast enough.

    March 25, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It takes a very strong man to lead a country where half of the citizens hate him for nothing more than his beautiful complexion that so many of them wish they had but unfortunately they drew the short stick and got stuck with the pasty look.

    Here's another one for you to zap.

    March 25, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Repubs. don't like how Obama is handling this issue but have nothing concrete to offer as an alternative. Why is this NEWS ?

    March 25, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    If Bush?Cheney were still Prez, they would have ordered the Invasion & Occupation of-POLAND.

    March 25, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    Have Republicans offered any solution to any criticism they have given this President? Republicans empower Putin every time they show disrespect to our President.

    March 25, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Hands off.......is hardly a defense.

    March 25, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    I see Fox sent out their foreign policy experts to post Hannity Insanity.

    March 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    "Acting out of weakness"-Russia has LOST 9/10 of Ukraine & ain't ever gonna get it "back" w/out a Major Bloodbath.

    March 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Dean
    If Obama did the right thing initially, he wouldn't need to defend himself now. He just can't seem to bend over fast enough.

    What should he have done? How would YOU have advised him? He has to defend himself constantly because there is an entertainment network that masquerades as "news" that crucifies every move he makes. Imbeciles like YOU actually believe it.

    March 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. So many haters. Meanwhile in the above the 70th percentile crowd, we have confidence in a POTUS who is measured and thinks before acting or shooting first.

    March 25, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Rusty Krus

    @Dean
    If Obama did the right thing initially, he wouldn't need to defend himself now. He just can't seem to bend over fast enough.

    What did Bush do when Putin invaded Georgia? Uh, well, yeah... NOTHING!

    March 25, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Why do right wingnuts think that going alone into war with Russia is a viable option? They are binded by hate. Sanctions will take some time, will be affective, and Russia will have only gained humiliation. Give it a few weeks, wingnuts, and you will see Russia's fossil fuel economy collapsing even more.

    March 25, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Ray
    The Tea Party is a true grass roots movement unlike the big labor 'movements' we have seen on the left.

    True Grass Roots Movement? It's actually a well funded machine backed by the Koch's, Dick Armey and other wealthy, right wing movers and shakers. The beauty of this scheme is that they get easily lead, uneducated dopes to follow them like lemmings to their death.

    March 25, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    So far, republicans have supported their hero Putin over our president, shut down our government, refused to extend unemployment benefits, got our credit rating downgraded, refused to bring the bipartisan jobs bill to a vote, voted against women, seniors, uninsured, poor and minorities. It seems as if they are the real terrorists.

    March 25, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Marc

    “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors,” Obama said, adding Moscow’s actions are “not out of strength but out of weakness.” Guess Obama's love affair with Putin is over. Now that is diplomatic skill- they move tanks, you fling insults, I am sure that will work.

    March 25, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    Putin's Best Ally in all of this: REPUBS.

    March 25, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Expat American

    If Obama did the right thing initially, he wouldn't need to defend himself now. He just can't seem to bend over fast enough.
    ----
    And what exactly would that be? When you figure it out, please enlighten GOP leaders in Washington.

    March 25, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. rs

    Monomachos

    Romney was right, Obama was wrong about Russia. Period.
    ______________________________
    What makes Romney right? Can you describe why the Ukraine changing hands means anything to the United States or our interests?

    March 25, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. smith

    @Wake up people- The sad thing is that the person you are defending does not agree with your viewpoint on the connection regarding racism and politics. There are those who clearly dislike him because he is black. However, some people just don`t like his policies or the fact that he is a Democrat.

    March 25, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Expat American

    Obama is a weak leader......
    ------
    How does this make President Obama a 'weak leader'.

    For argument's what is your much wiser solution?

    March 25, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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