March 2nd, 2014
01:34 PM ET
8 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. petroskies

    all options are on the table ? Mr. Kerry talk like a jew call Netanyahu . in least that liar have behind him the U.S. but who we the American haven, the jewish money ?

    March 2, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. serb

    Putin just turns off d gas valve and eu goes into coldfreeze in a year and solves d global warming fast
    So much for sanctions by eu

    March 2, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Terry Goldman

    ""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." - unless it is Panama or Nicaragua (or Cuba, further back).

    March 2, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Let me get this straight

    So when will 911 facts be released out to public? talk about false pretext

    March 2, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. Carlos Flores

    I would understand Kerry statements if Russia were to invade Hungry, Lithuania, etc. But this is not the case. Most Crimeans are Russians, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, Khrushchev in act of friendly brotherhood gave Crimea to the Ukrainians. In those days they were part of the same country; The Soviet Union. The problem is that the leaders of Ukraine are not the same. The Ukrainian revolution is now being led by well known Nazis, the Svoboda party (GOOGLE IT). They are up to no good. The place has become extremely difficult and insecure. What we would do if the Russians installed Missiles in a Nazi Cuba?

    March 2, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. Blueman

    Why can't our idiotic government stop worrying about other countries and start worrying about this one.

    March 2, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Blueman

    Democrats quickly rose to Obama's defense,

    See people, it's not about what we want, it's our out of control government.

    March 2, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. Tom

    Why don't all of you geniuses who are dumping on Obama, TELL US HERE what you think the right solution is? Should we drop bombs on Moscow? Tell us O wise ones! What would YOU do?

    March 2, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  9. Michael Cooper USA

    Seriously? It's ok for us (US) to invade Iraq in the name of fightin fo freedumb....heehaww, but the minute Russia invades Ukraine, it's a crime? LOL. What a joke. The US is crumbling from within, look at half its cities and towns. Detroit, Akron, Phillie, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc. 17 trillion in debt, thank you China.....we will keep buying Walmart you let us borrow more n more and we pay the bankers billions in interest, lol. Bottom line is, this country of ours, with it's so called freedom (don't mess with the police on every other corner or write something online that will trigger NSA investigations or check out the wrong book in the library) is literally at the brink of it's own civil war.

    March 2, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Jetranger

    KERRY says all options are on the Table, Kerry can Fly coach, or 1st Class or Fly a Chartered Jet over there, I believe he'll Fly a chartered Jet over, those are the Options he's referring to !!!!

    March 2, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  11. Dan

    Hey Kerry, why don't you get us into ANOTHER war. Why the long face?

    March 2, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. EdL

    'All options are on the table'? Presuming Obama has one or more Red Lines ready in the White House basement would one of these options include the laying down of a Red Line for Putin? If Assad returned his after stomping on it maybe his could be reused?

    March 2, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Bill from GA

    W invades Iraq,repubs and half the Dems approve

    we are in no position to tell ANYBODY how to behave!

    March 2, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. John Steel

    Obama demonstrates again that he is a clueless fool. Kerry knows more about ketchup than international politics. I believe that what he actually said was, "all condiments are on the table." Obama's response has to be the dumbest bit of diplomacy since Neville Chamberlain. Stop making vague, pointless threats and take meaningful actions. Kick Russian diplomats out of this country. Withdraw ours from Russia. Embargo all trade with Russia. Then sit back and let Putin stew in the mess of his own making. Russians will back him temporarily out of misplaced pride in their fallen empire, but when the body bags start coming home they will turn on Vladimir. You can bet all the former Soviet client states are watching this closely and will be eager to support Ukrainian resistance, as will the European countries. It won't be long before Russian troops are withdrawn for the same reasons the Russians gave up Ukraine in the first place. Let Putin thump his chest. He is crippling Russia and pushing potential allies into the arms of the West. We are not going back to the 1930s, nor are the Russian people. There are far too many who remember well the horrors of Soviet Russia. Give Putin all the rope he needs to hang himself. The further he pushes this the sooner he will be gone.

    March 2, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |

    "No Bluff" Obama has succeeded in his goal to weaken the United States both militarily and economically, and with his lies, Obama has made the United States vulnerable, not credible, and not seriously taken as in the case currently by Russia and in previous times by other countries like Iran and Syria!

    March 2, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. Really

    The 19th century? Oh yeah, that's when the United States invaded Mexico in a huge land grab and stole half of its neighbor's land.

    March 2, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. Ulan bat

    It is true that we have limited choice here, but I believe Putin has much more at stake – Ukraine, a long time ally, has switched sides. Crimea is of a vital strategic importance to Russia and i believe Putin is trying to salvage anything at this point at risk of getting his country under some sort of international embargo and isolation. Exactly just after he blew $65 billion on olympic games.

    March 2, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. Karlson

    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."-hahahah, lol. I was dying laughing at this hypocrisy. Clowns!!

    March 2, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. Joe

    all optios are on table but none seems will work

    March 2, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Jerry

    And who in this world would believe Russia would take a fraud like kerry seriously? Obama, is a nobody to Russia, nothing...however, obama has no clue how foolish he looks to Putin and other real leaders. This is just another US foreign policy goof in a five year line of screw ups. More to come, until Americans take their country back and turn it over to adult leadership.

    March 2, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  21. Leviticus

    So they're sendin Kerry to Kiev eh..this should go REAL well lol

    March 2, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    During the debates, Mitt was right. Russia is our number one geopolitical foe. "Leading from behind"... Sheesh, be is being left behind. Why should Putin fear an Obama / Kerry threat...not even Assad fears Obama / Kerry.

    Leading from behind? I thought you right wing whack jobs called Obama a dictator. Which is it? As much as you hate the guy, you can't have it both ways.

    March 2, 2014 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. Sammy

    Look at who is preaching to Putin. Its like the kettle calling the pot black. It is not only the US which can invade any this time around!!

    March 2, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. N

    ??? All options under the table 🙂

    March 2, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. adam

    1) Ukraine border was a abstract line between republic of soviet empire.
    2) After collapse many region has Russian population what does not want be in Ukraine and other way.
    3) GDP in Russia is 15000 USD and GDP in Ukraine 3500 USD
    4) EU does not have any idea what to with Ukraine economy. For many integration with Russia is better economic deal also they are Russian nationality and language. It is bigger deal for Ukrainian of course.
    5) Ukraine never existed as a country it is Soviet empire collapse creation. Historically it was region of Poland or Russia with limited autonomy.
    6) Putin did not come there to kill people these are Russian and many of the does not even speak Ukrainian.
    7) New so called government is extremal pro right does not have any military support, was not elected in democratic election but is an result or local revolt in capital mostly controlled by one ethnic group.
    8) More the same co called government liquidated Russian national language as first act of administration. It is a native language for about 33% of country population. From first days of existence pointed also to extremely fascist Ukrainian 1940s movements and ideologies.
    9) So called Ukrainian government also already encouraged terrorist in Russia Chechnya groups to fight against Russia.
    10) THE MOST IMPORTANT PART CHRIMEA never was a part of Ukraine republic and was simply reassigned there from Russia republic as administration reorganization by stupid soviets in 1960s. It was never Ukrainian. Native people of this region were more less extinct by Stalin. Now is populated by native Russian.

    In this situation I do believe that risking a life one one American will be too much and spending money on this issue is a waste. I would like to see our President on G8 summit next to president Putin.
    Action need to be taken together with Russia on subject how to fix stupid soviet administration mistakes and correct Ukrainian borders.

    March 2, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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