News / Europe

Obama: US Stands With Ukraine Against Russia's 'Dark Tactics'

  • U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after a G7 group photo in Brussels, June 5, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama laughs as he looks at British Prime Minister David Cameron during a G7 session in Brussels, June 5, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Belgian King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo at the Royal Palace of Brussels, June 4, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski show the peace sign at a Freedom Day event at Royal Square in Warsaw, June 4, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony marking the "Freedom Day" anniversary in Warsaw's Castle Square, June 4, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony marking the Freedom Day anniversary in Castle Square in Warsaw, June 4, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Warsaw, June 4, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski walk away after a group photo with Central and Eastern European Leaders in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski walk to make statements after meeting U.S. and Polish troops at an event featuring F-16 fighter jets in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.
President Obama's Europe Trip
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama said the world must "stand with those who seek freedom," as he drew parallels between reforms taking place in Ukraine today and the elections in Poland 25 years ago that marked the beginning of the end of Communism.
 
Susan Yackee's Q&A with Luis Ramirez on President Obama's speech in Warsaw, Poland
Susan Yackee's Q&A with Luis Ramirez on President Obama's speech in Warsaw, Polandi
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Speaking Wednesday at a Freedom Day event in Warsaw, Obama hailed Poland's first partially free election in 1989 as a "landslide victory for freedom."

He said now the free world is united against what he called Russia's "dark tactics" in Ukraine, where in March Russian forces seized control of Crimea.

"Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small, or impose their will at the barrel of a gun or with masked men taking over buildings," Obama said.

"And the stroke of a pen can never legitimize the theft of a neighbor’s land, so we will not accept Russia’s occupation of Crimea or its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia," the president added.

"We stand together because we believe that people and nations have the right to determine their own destiny — that includes the people of Ukraine," Obama said in Warsaw.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Melsbroek military airport in Melsbroek, Belgium, June 4, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Melsbroek military airport in Melsbroek, Belgium, June 4, 2014.
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U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Melsbroek military airport in Melsbroek, Belgium, June 4, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Melsbroek military airport in Melsbroek, Belgium, June 4, 2014.

The president also restated America's commitment to its NATO allies.

"An attack on one is an attack on all. ... We stand together, now and forever, for your freedom is ours," Obama said.

“Poland will never stand alone. Estonia will never stand alone. Latvia will never stand alone. Lithuania will never stand alone. Romania will never stand alone," Obama added, naming the ex-Communist countries that - unlike Ukraine - have joined NATO and therefore enjoy protection as treaty allies.

"These are not just words," Obama said. "They are unbreakable commitments backed by the strongest alliance in the world and by the armed forces of the United States of America: the most powerful military in history."

Poland's 25-year history of democracy is an example to Ukraine of what could be achieved if a country is allowed to realize its aspirations, Obama said. But he noted another 25-year anniversary on June 4: the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

"The story of this nation [Poland] reminds us that freedom is not guaranteed. And history cautions us to never take progress for granted. On the same day 25 years ago that Poles were voting here, tanks were crushing peaceful democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on the other side of the world," he said.

Meeting with Poroshenko

Before the ceremony, Obama met with Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko, and announced $5 million in non-lethal aid to help Ukraine's military forces in their effort to battle pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
 
From left, former Polish Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lech Walesa are seated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk at Freedom Day celebrations in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.From left, former Polish Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lech Walesa are seated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk at Freedom Day celebrations in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
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From left, former Polish Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lech Walesa are seated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk at Freedom Day celebrations in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
From left, former Polish Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Lech Walesa are seated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk at Freedom Day celebrations in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.

Obama flew to Brussels later Wednesday for a working dinner with leaders from the Group of Seven nations. They will meet for further talks on Thursday.  

The leaders quickly arranged the summit after deciding to boycott a Group of Eight meeting Russia was to host this week in Sochi. The boycott was in response to Russia's incursion into Crimea in March.

In Poland, President Obama heard from a leadership that wants a more robust U.S. military presence in the region, and tougher sanctions against Russia. But at the G-7, Obama faces a different situation among leaders in western Europe who are hesitant to enact stricter sectoral sanctions that could hurt their extensive trade ties with Moscow.

Obama's three-nation trip will also include a speech Friday at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, during a ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the allied D-Day invasion against Nazi forces in World War II.

Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko will all be at the Normandy commemorations - the first time they have been in the same location since the crisis in Ukraine began - though there is no plan at the moment for them to have a meeting.

Germany and Britain, whose leaders will hold private meetings with Putin on the sidelines of the ceremony in France, both stepped up criticism of Russia's role in eastern Ukraine.

The delicate job of shoring up a common approach to Russia began late Wednesday, when Mr. Obama joined the other G-7 leaders for a working dinner at the European Community.  It followed a short visit with King Philippe of Belgium at the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital.
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to parliament in Berlin, urged Putin to use his influence to restrain the separatists and make them disarm and end occupations.
 
“If this doesn't happen... we won't shrink from imposing further sanctions,” she said.
 
The British Foreign Office accused Moscow of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine with “a torrent of disinformation” and of trying to intimidate Kyiv with a military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

Luis Ramirez reported from Brussels; some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: José from: Portugal
June 21, 2014 12:54 PM
Obama said that the world cannot permit bigger countries attack smaller ones ?

hummm. what a hipcrotic , how about USA attack Iraq , Libia , Serbia and so on ... ?

I just dont undersand why USA are seeking for a armed conflict with Russia ? Noboby will win , when one of rwo are loosing will use nukes and in this kind of world no one in the entiry plannet will be safe ... USA have more power ? of course , economic and militar but did that power win in Afeganistan ? in Iraq ? dont think so . Does american aircarriers safe in Atlantic ou pacific ? Russia have more than 100 subs , half of them modernized or new , just need one to sunk a carrier ... russia also have good fighter planes and above all the best air defense system . Regard that a older version of russia defense system put down american steath fighter in Serbia ...Does USA admit a loss on several aircrafts ? navy equipment , a death of thousands of troops and a possibility of american soil be bombarded ? Russia will no have other option than reply to an american attack and she have all this capabilties ... does Europe so blind that dont see the capacity to be economic destructed in a war with Russia ? does anyone (apart from the stupid polititians) believe that China will not take part of that strugle ? China and north Korea will see the only ally be invaded ? and after be allone ? no way , none of us , normal citizens think like that why we , europena citizens believe Russia and Chnia politics will accept a militar attack from west ?
Remember one thing , in America there are a group of persons that believe hardly on a armagedon , they are seeking for it , they believed in creationism , they believe GOD is only for them , not for anybodyelse ( Nazis though like that) , these people are stupid but have power , see the power of tea party in Republican party for instance ... This people will want war and holocaust because they think only of them ... We need to be carefull with this kind of people that want to guide us to war , guide us to destruction ... Russia is not invanding my home , neither my neighbour home , why I must considerer them an enemy ? For other hand , USA already invaded a country in every continent , why must I considering americans a good friend ?


by: Igor from: Russia
June 05, 2014 3:38 AM
Hey, Mr. Obama, you have almost forgotten the freedom of the people in Eastern Ukraine. What a hypocrite!


by: Benard Okoth from: Kenya
June 05, 2014 12:45 AM
it is good to promote peace day and night,


by: gen from: Japan
June 04, 2014 11:34 PM
What did he say? Mr Obama.Russia's dark tactics? How hilarious!
US supproted Ukraine's right sectors which ousted the elected president by violence.Everybody knows US made a senario of getting rid of the president and build illeagaly interim government in kiev,then now hold the president election to leagalize it.
This is we should call this senario the very″Dark Tactics″.
The right sector now is called a national guards.They attack the east.
US's next plan would be making a proxy war in Ukraine?


by: Anonymous from: russia
June 04, 2014 11:56 AM
May be America really will help Ukraine and begin to sell weapon.


by: meanbill from: USA
June 04, 2014 9:06 AM
US HYPOCRISY?: -- Obama did say it; -- ("We stand together because "we" believe that nations and people have the right to determine their own destiny") -- (FACT?) -- The US, EU, and NATO countries forget the "Gunboat Treaties" and "Unequal Treaties" they forced on third world countries for hundreds of years, and they continue to do it, to this day...

HYPOCRISY? -- WHY did the US, EU, and other NATO countries interfere in the politics of Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and now Ukraine -- bringing violence, death, destruction and war to these countries, (that continues to this day?) -- and never bringing peace of any kind, to anybody? ---
WAS it the Russians that interfered in all these countries politics -- (OR?) -- was it the US, EU, and NATO countries binging violence, death, and destruction and war, to all these countries, to change their governments? --- REALLY?

In Response

by: Sage from: australia
June 04, 2014 7:49 PM
It was the USSR, which firstly invaded Afghanistan! 'Migs birds' and the 'Kalashnikov balalaikas' were/are the most common play 'toys' for the 'Man of War' in the above mentioned countries! So, who is brooding social friendship and who is brewing freedom of speech!?!
However, World Freedom have a price, and it all depends of who's personal view is employed!

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 04, 2014 7:42 PM
Only the uneducated don't know this.

In Response

by: Chank from: Russia
June 04, 2014 10:25 AM
Dude, why do you live in USA? Travel home.. KGB miss you :)

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