February 28th, 2014
05:10 PM ET
8 years 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. badtobone

    Obama said this was his year of action.so we will see what he dose with Putin

    February 28, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. hunter29

    Obama to Putin; Stay out of Ukraine or .............................................! Does anybody knows what Obama can or will do:)?

    February 28, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Joe from Kalispell

    Putin, don't you dare cross that line. Oh no, I meant this line here. Well since you crossed that line I really means this line right here.

    February 28, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Namesake

    Obama is a man of words. Putin is a man of action. Agree with another writer that Obama draw no lines in the sand.

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. AesopsRetreat_Com

    Putin made Obama Blink.

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Wardo22

    Obama probably just hung up the phone with Putin telling him that he needs to go out and make a statement but ignore it.

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. TheLion

    Like Putin is worried about Obama. lol

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. jafeucht

    Obama really want's to move his anti-missile defense right on the edge of Russia territory. That's exactly what Obama's dirty little motive is: gaining more power over Russia.

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Jetranger

    Ya, Back Off, Obama will make ya sign up for that Disasterous ACA healthcare plan !!

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. winston smith_1984

    George Washington said we should stay out of European wars but then WW1 came along and we go dragged into it and we've been involved ever since. I think its time we go back to isolationism. Those people have been fighting with each other for hundreds of years and we can't stop it.

    February 28, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. 1CDO_RLI

    This Government is being serious, right? I bet Putin is just quaking in his shoes.

    February 28, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. vick

    Please Mr Obama for once stay out of everyone's business. You have Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and North Korea. God knows what else. Ukraine is Russia's neighbor of course they are concern. If Mexico or Canada having civil war USA would be concern also and if Russia intervene that would be a problem like USA doing in Ukraine problem. USA please mind your own business you have enough on your plate right now. Beside Russia is not a small country you can easily bully like the others in the middle east.

    February 28, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. bill

    mr milktoast sure scares putin-like-iran stop your enrichment and we will release your billions–iran said NO so mr. milktoast said ok we will release your billiions. Syria do not cross that line–ok Syria you crossed the line but mr. miltoast is watching. Boy is the world now scared of us. wow

    February 28, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Concerned is a understatment

    Ok, I do not speak Russian or anything like that but i do know people who do and are from that area and from what they are telling me it is a full on implosion. The Ukrainian rebels have armed and have been killing both policemen and military (who, to my understanding, were using rubber bullets....). So tell me Mr. President..... is Russia trying to claim this land for it's own or are they seeing the nation destabilizing right out there windows rather then from the comfort of a recliner? Do i think Russia is doing the right thing.... Not really.... but does anyone have a better idea??? I am sure they would like to hear it!

    February 28, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Serious Truth

    Great! Let's forget about our problems and focus on Russia. Really? Russia is a shell of a country yet our media is trying to start a new Cold War. But a good war always takes the focus off internal issues when things aren't going your way.

    February 28, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Danlien

    The whole world is destabilizing. People are sick of being pulled around by corrupt governments.

    February 28, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. yippeeskip

    We are NOT the worlds policemen...the past should tell you SOMETHING!!!

    February 28, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. Hypocrisy

    We have been fighting Al-Qeuda since 9-11 but when the Syrian Government decides to defend itself against the same Al-Qaeda militants we decide to back them. Russia Promised 15 billion and discounts on energy to Ukraine, where as the EU deal would have them go bankrupt within 2 years, right now our government can only pledge 1 billion guaranteed and our neighbors to the North have provided $200 000, the ELECTED prime minister who fled made concessions and was ousted by Fascist Protesters. If America couldn't bail out Detroit how are we gonna bail out the Ukraine, the EU is strapped as well our money is gone because of these pointless wars that never work out.

    February 28, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. James

    I support the President, but I sure am happy he waited until the markets closed before speaking. That being said, people need to decide what they want from the President. If he does nothing, the critics come out. If he does something, the critics come out. The U.S. isn't going to war with Russia; that would be far too destabilizing for the world at large. The President needed Russia to know that diplomatic and economic sanctions might come into play if they make a military move, and he wanted the Ukrainian people to understand that we were on their side in terms of deciding their own political future. But, not all of Ukraine wants to be free from Russian influence and this might be the kindle to split the country. The ex Ukraine President is obviously pushing for Russia to get involved and re-install him as President.

    February 28, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Frank

    Ill bet Puten is trembling in his boots. Not

    February 28, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Right, Man

    Obama saying anything about this is as useful as saying nothing. Short of the US putting ground troops in the Ukraine, or putting F-18's or F-22's over Ukrainian airspace, the Russians are going to do what the Russians are going to do. We all know that the US is not going to go to war over the Ukrainian people or their freedom, nor will Obama go nose to nose with Russian aircraft nor Russian troops. Given the truth of that statement, Obama's warnings make us look weak. Political retaliations will not stop Russia from annexing the Ukraine if that is what their intent is. Rather than going public and looking the fool, Obama should have had a private chat with Putin on the phone and just kept quiet about it. He'd either be persuasive or not.

    February 28, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. GIUK

    The US lecturing another nation on how wrong it is to invade another nation. Now that's rich.

    February 28, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Celebrity Dictator

    "There will be costs" for any military intervention, he said, without specifying what those costs might be.


    February 28, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. ANNIER

    Oh, PLEASE!!...for the love o' G A W D, can't we just ONCE, just ONE time, keep our nose out of it?? This is why we're HATED around the world. We have SO many problems, yet we have to stick our nose in their business. I personally DO NOT CARE what's happening there!....I DO care what's happening here!

    February 28, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Bubba

    Excuse my Confusion... If Canada broke out into Civil war tomorrow, we would send supports there in a second to maintain the stability of the established government. Isn't this what Putin is attempting to do?

    PS- In North Carolina PUTIN is slang for the passage of Wind.. Breaking Wind..

    February 28, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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