March 2nd, 2014
01:34 PM ET
9 years 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."

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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. Anonymous

    Putin overplays his hand and we are now in the Cold War? Grow the hell up people before your ideological American doom and gloom does come true and your childish internet behavior creates a situation that does require another prolonged war.

    March 3, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair


    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.
    Touche, CryBabies. Well done indeed.

    March 3, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    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.
    You're the one who attacked by innuendo, not me. You're the one who put the ball on the tee for me to drive.

    You've got it wrong. In fact, completely wrong. Romney had declared Russia the world's greatest nuclear threat. Not Iran. Not N. Korea. Russia. I also recall that Romney was heavily criticized for making those statements, too. The remarks only escalated tensions between the two leaders, especially for Putin, who's been snubbed by Bush for nearly a decade.

    The Cold War is over. It has been Republicans who have been trying to revive it to give the miliatary industrial complex some business.

    March 3, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Romney said. Palin said. McCain said. Squawk. Squawk. Squawk.

    The market will decide what happens in Russia. Not America.

    Those that own the world and all who inhabit it today will decide what to do with Putin.

    They decide. Not America. Thank you Ronald Reagan.

    March 3, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. LoLBama

    When Kerry speaks.......No one listens.

    March 3, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. tom l

    Lol. Rudy talking about the military industrial complex. Hilarious. So, in the new budget that slashes the military, guess what wasn't cut Rudy? Contractors is the answer. Obama is just as beholden to the military industrial complex as Bush. The only difference is that Obama cuts the budget and reduces our troops. They both made sure that contractors were not affected.

    March 3, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Logic_Is_Not_Common_Sense

    "Will Putin heed Obamas warning?"... No. But perhaps, if Obama uses his super-power of "endless speeches", he'll bore Putin into submission... leaving him rendered useless and begging Obama to stop talking.

    March 3, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. CryBabies

    Rudy...Again you don't read , correctly, what is written. What I referred to above was the tape of the debate, replayed by CNN last week explicitly focusing on the exchange between Obama/Romney regarding Russia-Cold war-Iran. Obama chided Romney telling him to "call the 80's regarding the Cold war and that Iran, not Russia, was the number one threat promoting "terrorism" around the world. NO mention, in that exchange was made to nuclear weapons held by Russia....that was your addition to the talking points. Russia was referred to as the "greatest geo-political threat " to the USA. Go on you tube and I'm sure you will find the exchange. I am not wrong.,

    March 3, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. joejmauro

    john Kerry is out of touch and powerless.Putini senses this and is taking aim.

    March 3, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. tom l


    I am no fan of Palin but she was also correct in assessing what Russia would do. You should read the comments that people made about her, especially rs. The hatred of this woman from the left is palpable. What is so funny is that while they are calling her an idiot and making fun of how she could see Russia from her house none of them would acknowledge that content of the story. The content showing Palin was correct.

    March 3, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Smitty

    Don't cross this line, eeerrr, I mean this line, eerrr No really I mean this line !!! What do you expect after putin handed bammy his backside over Syria ??? Is gitmo still open ???

    March 3, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Richard

    Putin know Obama is all bark and no bite. He is to busy watching American citizens to know what is going on in the world.

    March 3, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. CryBabies

    tom I ..... Yes, that is true and was also brought to bare on Fox ( Heaven forbid we mention them!!). It says much about the vision Romney, Palin and others on the right of center had, have regarding Russia and other antagonistic countries. I come on here knowing this site is 80-85% liberal and it is a real eyeopener to the gap in political ideology. But I don't indulge 24/7. Most on here have squatters rights...I beleive it fuels their existence.

    March 3, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. govwatch63

    Oooo... Putin's bunny slippers are running for cover.

    March 3, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. johnjo

    Stop talking & thinking Barrack; & instead start Obaming. In other word do a Kennedy on this Vlad & mean it. Every day lost to this bully doing things to taunt Ukraine will be days lost for Ukrainian lives, because once a shot rings out whether it's meant of will turn into mayhem & don't think the wider world won't be affected...because it will. And there are enough leader nutcases in the world who will side with this Megalomaniac. Doing nothing & Putin will go ahead & may then put his eyes on Poland/Romania/Czechoslovakia...

    PS. China are putting out mixed messages telling Russia one thing & since then telling their own they don't agree with the invasion.

    March 3, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama is the President and he will decide what to do. Not Graham or McCain who would of had us in 5 wars by now if they had their way. Ridiculous. Thank God we have President Obama at the helm instead of those two. Too fast to shoot from the hip. President Obama has strategies and won't foot the bill alone. Smart. That is not weak, that's strong. Good leader.

    March 3, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. Eddie

    Stop! Or I'll say stop again.... Russia knows we aren't going to do anything so why look so silly with the pointless posturing on our part?

    March 4, 2014 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  18. reggie53

    Putin does not care what you say Mr. Kerry. Just head back home and stay quiet. Obama and his administration are total failures. Time to get a real leader for America........Obama do the right thing and resign!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  19. Jerry

    Quick call easter island and tell them one their statues is missing

    March 4, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
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