News / Europe

    Obama, Merkel Warn Russia on Ukraine

    Obama, Merkel Threaten Tougher Sanctions On Russiai
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    Kent Klein
    May 02, 2014 8:55 PM
    U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are threatening tougher sanctions against Russia if it does not stop its alleged military operations in Ukraine. As VOA's Kent Klein reports, the two leaders discussed further steps against the Kremlin when they met Friday at the White House.
    Related video report by VOA's Kent Klein
    VOA News
    If Moscow continues fueling unrest in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and others in his leadership circle will face increasingly broad sanctions, U.S. President Barack Obama warned on Friday.  

    Appearing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Obama praised her for being a strong partner on Ukraine.

    The two nations, he said, “are united in our unwavering support for Ukraine.”

    Any Russian attempts to interfere with Ukraine's May 25 presidential election would prompt new pressure on Russia's energy sector, Obama said. Ukraine's parliament had voted in February to remove Victor Yanukovych as the country's leader.
     
    Both Obama and Merkel said they want to see a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. Otherwise, Putin and others involved in destabilizing Ukraine “will face increasing costs as well as growing isolation,” Obama said.

    Sanctions, imposed in March after Russia annexed Crimea, were expanded April 28. They include visa bans and the freezing of any U.S. assets for nearly 50 political and business allies of Putin.

    New violence involving pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine suggests the measures are not curbing the Kremlin.

    Obama also urged Moscow to press pro-Russia militants to free the seven military observers taken hostage last weekend. Continued detention of the observers, from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is "disgraceful" and "inexcusable," Obama said. 

    During meetings Friday, the two leaders were to discuss the National Security Agency's spy program, which targeted Merkel's phone conversations and caused tension between the two allies. Since then, "we've tried to reform what we do," Obama said at the news conference, emphasizing the continued need to balance privacy and security concerns.

    Merkel and Obama said they were united in the goals of supporting Ukraine and of penalizing Russian leaders for fomenting unrest there.

    "We're united in our support for Ukraine, including the very important IMF program approved this week," Obama said. The International Monetary Fund announced a $17 billion, two-year aid package to the besieged country.

    Obama promised "sectoral sanctions" on Russia if Moscow disrupted plans for Ukraine's election. The energy and banking sectors, plus military arms sales, are among the most likely targets.    

    Some of Germany’s largest businesses have voiced strong opposition to broader sanctions against Russia, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

    They include Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen, Adidas, chemical giant BASF and engineering and electronics conglomerate Siemens, all with operations in Russia.

    Getting  Europe to agree to tougher sanctions has been a challenge for Obama.  Some European nations have tight economic ties to Russia and many of them depend heavily on Russian oil and gas imports.
     
    Moscow has indicated it is willing to use its gas supplies as leverage in the dispute over Ukraine. Russia has substantially raised the price of gas to Ukraine and threatened to reduce the amount it supplies.  
     
    In their conversations Friday, Obama and Merkel discussed the need for Europe to diversify its energy sources.

    At the news conference, Merkel called for support of the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would ease trade restrictions between the U.S. and Europe.

    "We are firmly convinced this offers a lot of opportunities" to trade partners, Merkel said.

    She later addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce concerning the strength of the German-American relationship and trans-Atlantic trade.  
     
    VOA White House reporter Luis Ramirez and Reuters contributed to this report.

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    Comments page of 2
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    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 06, 2014 7:03 PM
    Hey France,
    Since your country is following through on plans to sell your ships to Russia, I think America needs to rethink were are loyalties lie and which countries are true allies. I myself, will stop buying any French products to show my support of this sale. Perhaps you can peddle those RUBELS in China or Iran, or were you planning on having Russia pay in U. S. Dollars?
    Jack C.

    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 05, 2014 10:32 PM
    Is America Ready For Another COLD WAR,
    As an AMERICAN Baby Boomer, I can say that our generation still remembers the cold war and yes, we are ready for such an event. As far as our children, they haven't a clue as to what the hell were even talking about. My generation lived with the fact that at any given time, some deranged idiot could push a button and our world would end as we knew it. We're these times tense, without a dought, Yes! to say the least. Did we survive them, yes with great difficulty and long hours of negotiations, America and the USSR/CCCP reached an understanding that we could both exist without being a threat to each other's existence. For 20 years the fear was gone, but once again this ugly beast has emerged into the world and is slowly building the cold war walls ever higher as the days go by. The time has come for our children's generation to speak up and be heard and fight for freedom like we did when the BERLIN WALL CAME DOWN. Do not rebuild this wall from distrust and hatred into something that will take a generation to tear down. God dam, are we all that stupid to repeat such a horrible and screwed up mistake as we did during the cold war. It's time to let youth speak their mind and tell our generation to put down the dam guns and start talking about a real solution to a political disaster of power hungry countries and power hungry people destroying our world and that of our CHILDREN. I think it would be a blessing if God all mighty, struck our generation DEAD, just so or children could rebuild a safer and better world without our corrupt political ways and destructive powers. GOD BLESS OUR YOUTH AND GIVE THEM STRENGTH, for our generation has totally betrayed them and have placed them in a horrible situation, to say the least. I'M SO SORRY FOR LETTING YOU DOWN!
    Jack C.

    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 05, 2014 12:15 AM
    To the Pro-Russian' s!
    Perhaps you should stop to ask yourselves, I wonder we're President Putin is going to get all the money needed to support the pro-Russians when in 5 to 7 years, the European union will have implemented fracking or found other sources that are willing to implement fracking and will be more then willing to sell their oil and gas to Europe. Since this is 40 to 50% of Russia's revenue, he will be forced to compete against China and America to become a major world leader in international trade within 5 to 7 years. Also, I don't think China will take kindly to entering their turf and competing with them on a global scale as an industrial competitor. Maybe you pro-russian thinkers better really sit down and think about what impact this will really have on you in 5 to 7 years and just how Czar Putin is going to pull this off. Good luck with that guys!!!
    Jack C.

    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 03, 2014 5:27 PM
    America to stop buying Russian ammunition NOW!
    To all those AMERICAN's that want to support American troops, you can start by stop buying Russian ammunition immediately. Buying this ammo from Russia show' s no support whatsoever for our troops now being deployed throughout Europe.
    Be American and Support our TROOP' s
    Jack C.

    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 03, 2014 5:22 PM
    America to stop buying Russian ammunition NOW!
    To all those AMERICAN's that want to support American troops, you can start by stop buying Russian ammunition immediately. Buying this ammo from Russia show' s no support whatsoever for our troops now being deployed throughout Europe.
    Be American and Support our TROOP' s
    Jack C.

    by: Pablo from: Paris
    May 03, 2014 7:04 AM
    Russia 's gas smells like poison for EU. As long as EU buys Russia's gas we will contribute to WW3....

    by: Pro-K from: Earth-CA
    May 03, 2014 2:56 AM
    Russian leaders, No imperialism! Put it in your brains!

    by: samuel from: kenya
    May 03, 2014 2:04 AM
    obama should stand strong en use any means to stop this crisis

    by: Frank
    May 02, 2014 3:32 PM
    The major Western Powers need to stand together once and for all.
    For too long Russia has been allowed to "manoeuvre" the Syrian situation and pursue its own agenda. a policy it conducts throughout the world to its own advantage, irrespective of the consequences and loss of human lives. However it sends out a signal to other "rogue" governments that they too can get away with such actions.

    by: Jack C from: USA
    May 02, 2014 2:43 PM

    American Troops Deserve A Break!
    AMERICAN TROOPS DESERVE A BREAK AND THE SUPPORT FROM AMERICA'S INDUSTRIES. It appears that much of Europe could care less about Ukraine and Crimea, as long as it doesn't affect their profit margins. Yet Europe screams that AMERICAN's, on our own, are not doing enough to confront Russia. Guess what Europe, you allowed yourselves to become dependent on Russia for oil and gas when the writing was on the wall back in 2008.

    At the same time America set out a goal to be less dependent on foreign oil, so research discovered fracking as our option. Guess what, were achieving that gaol and by 2017 should reach independence from foreign oil and gas, except from those countries which we consider to be are allies. While this was going on, Europe's industries catered to Putin, to the point that you are now vastly dependent on Russia for oil, gas and raw materials as well as revenue from exported products.

    AMERICAN's, are tired, exhausted and plain worn out defending the world on every continent. The United States Of America, has 250 active military ships deployed around the world, 52 destroyers, 22 guided missle cruiser ships, 10 Air craft carriers active with 3 under construction, 27 nuclear subs, 41 Los Angeles class subs, 100's of support vessels, all to keep the world's waterways free for everyone to benefit from in global trade. Basically, America has a huge navy that is well supplied and paid for by AMERICAN's to protect the free world markets.

    America has been asking Europe for years to step up to help carry the heavy burden and financial cost associated with world freedom. After many years, Europe has slowly reduced your costs for defense to the point were only a small group of countries carry this burden. I'm sure if you invite Russia into your country, you will have no problem with him taking over you news media, TV stations, the internet and any other communication source to inform you of his actions and assist his military in protecting your country as he doles out your industrial complexes to is inner circle of governing mafia members. Be carefully, it could cost you your life if you act incorrectly. Good luck with that European Union, I wish you the best.
    Some dumb American taxpayer
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