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. dacimationer

    putin a hero now in USA, and Obama, who is he? Just a woman of hypocrisy, with different standard between himself and other countries.

    March 3, 2014 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  2. Jim Rome

    It's none of our business. We're broke.

    March 3, 2014 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  3. metalhead65

    boy Mitt Roney sure did know what he was taling about when he said russia was still a threat did he ? Ibet putin is really worried what our resonse will be. obama might stop cavier sales with themthat will show them! so is this invasion flexability he promised putin? between russia invading the Ukraine and north korea testing missle we are seeing the results of obam'sforeign policy. not surprising they are the same as his domestic one and that means it is a disaster!

    March 3, 2014 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  4. satan777

    what is this idiot invated at least 10 countries.....last 5 years..........destroyed them to ground ........sow he must be quiet

    March 3, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  5. Independent

    The USA has no right to rebuke any other nation for invasions considering that the USA has invaded more countries in the past 60-70 years than any other nation out there. Most of these invasions were on trumped up charges as well, the sole purpose of which was to consolidate American economic and political interests.

    March 3, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  6. George W. Washington

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext," No, that lunacy is reserved for the psychopaths running the United States. That Kerry would say such a remark with a straight face shows just how imbalanced he really is.

    March 3, 2014 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  7. Michael Nesom

    John Kerry says that you don't invade another country on a trumped up pretext – can he explain Iraq. Russia is not the only country that looks on the American political system with contempt. Liars cheaters cowards no wonder no one is afraid of crossing Obama

    March 3, 2014 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  8. taxweary1

    Obamas timing is perfect as usual for a cut back on our military!We could send obamacare to russia and financially bankrupt them!

    March 3, 2014 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  9. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    ALL options are on the table !!!

    Liking Putin's boots.
    Strong letter to the UN
    Sticking my head in the sand

    March 3, 2014 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  10. Scott

    I think Kerry has his centuries mixed up, which makes a further embarrassment as SOS.

    March 3, 2014 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  11. Jeff

    Let me guess what our policy is "The U.S. has a redline that Russia should not cross – but if they do we won't do anything." Welcome to Obama foreign policy.

    March 3, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  12. Mocking Putin?

    Mocking Putin and the Russians isn't a productive gesture for a "reset" of US-Russian relations. But Putin and the Russians really have no fears and couldn't care less what Kerry or Obama say. Putin will do what is in the best interests of Russia, not the international community or a weak US.

    March 3, 2014 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. joe public

    “all options are on the table” – including talking a lot without action.

    March 3, 2014 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  14. Joel

    If Obama was truly trying to prevent international terrorism then he should assist Putin protect The Ukraine.

    If Obama thinks rioters and anarchists have an interest in preventing The Ukraine from becoming a haven for all types of lawlessness then he is mistaken.

    The Muslims in The Ukraine could easily be radicalized and present themselves as white Americans. The potential for acts of extremist violence in the US increases significantly.

    You should be writing your representatives. Be serious. The Boston Bombing should be a wake up call.

    March 3, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  15. Eleanor Fitzgerald

    Yes, the defense industry corporatists would like nothing better than ramping up another war. Lets just continue wasting the wealth and youth of our country on armed conflict instead of meeting needs here at home. Democracy has not transplanted well in many parts of the world because ethnic or tribal loyalties seem to outweigh cooperation and national identity in places like the Ukraine. Putin is exploiting that by flexing his muscles in his continuing effort to rebuild a Russian identity after the successes of the Olympics. On our part, diplomatic and economic strategies should be exhausted first!

    March 3, 2014 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  16. IvoteDemocrat

    The GOP is naive if they just think we can send troops. That is what they want to do, but if they were in Obama's shoes they woudl be doing the same thing he is doing, weighing his non-war options. The GOP is just using this crisis in order to stir up hate from their ignorant base who couldn't even find Ukraine on a map a weeka ago.

    March 3, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  17. DC Observer

    I listened to Kerry all weekend. He did not give a straight answer to any hard question. You can tell when Kerry is not going to be direct and answer a question – he, like Obama, takes 10 minutes to give a speech and not respond to the questions

    I am sure when Kerry and Obama say "all options are on the table" Putin and his generals take another shot of vodka and laugh their pants off

    March 3, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  18. K

    The administration has finally put some teeth into their rhetoric. John Kerry has just slapped Vladimir Putin with a carbon tax for operating diesel tanks outside of his country. I anticipate the Russians to retreat from these overbearing sanctions.

    March 3, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  19. Jerry

    Ketchup Kerry (0-Bama's minion): "All options are on the table." You clueless fool you or 0-Bama have hardly any options; except your stupid/rookie rhetoric. Kerry, you and your Puppet Master (0-Bama) waited way too long to start drawing "lines in the sand (snow?!)" now.

    The "0-Bama Experiment" continues to prove the failure of the "Clueless One" and HIS equally clueless administration.

    God (PLEASE) help América!!!!

    March 3, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  20. disqus_m4RzRjSnrs

    After Bombo is through gutting our military, perhaps we can just talk them out of their intentions. Bombo can waive his Peace Prize at the Russians. That will certainly keep them in tow.

    March 3, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. Marty

    Does anyone remember what Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney said about Russia and how Obama, Candy Crowley and the Democrats laughed?

    March 3, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  22. KEITH

    And this is the kind of crap we here, and now that stupid Hagel wans to start screwing around with the numbers in our military

    March 3, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. A.Contractor

    Western hypocritical comments against Russia. Has America forgotten Iraq invasion.

    Russia quite rightly has fears about over 50% of the people in Crimea, who have allegiance with Russia.

    March 3, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  24. tdsd

    All except sending troops.

    March 3, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  25. YC

    Kerry," all options are on the table", whom he is kidding? the all world knows Obama is not going to use force as an option.

    March 3, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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