News / Europe

Obama, Merkel Warn Russia on Ukraine

Obama, Merkel Threaten Tougher Sanctions On Russiai
X
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.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Borenasa from: Ghana
May 02, 2014 1:48 PM
America n it's allies are very selective when it comes to global security. I believe if what is happening in ukraine was to in africa or the arab world, they would have called for a UN security council resolution to go n fight there. i can't imagine why they applying economic sanctions. i challenge france to go and apply their tactics on tuareg rebels in mali on these separatist in ukraine. only in africa that france boast that they are men to the extend of overthrowing n capturing sitting presidents(gbagbo). i want to see france in ukraine


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 02, 2014 1:48 PM
I watched Obama and Merkel stand in a news conference and declare that sanction is a second option to diplomatic moves. While Merkel stood like she was goaded by Obama to say what she was saying, she displayed an abject incompetence to be head of a stare like Germany which is by all standard a world power both economically and militarily - even if not a declared one. Standing there being directed by Obama to agree to a sanction on a third of German economy is like sentencing a third of its population to some kind of hardship, or asking a third of the country's unemployed labor market to say goodbye forever to the idea of ever finding a job. This is share ineptitude.

I wish the voting public in Germany is watching her and her party and would show them the way out in the next election. For a president who is good at following the footsteps of others without having her own initiative is not good enough for Germany. Maybe she has become too old for the job especially without a most primary constituency - that could call her to some reason. No wonder Europe is drifting for lack of purposeful leadership, if only Merkel could grovel that much to a security ideology that does not even trust her but must spy on her to see how much she's been in pally with the enemies. This is not the way to rebuild the trust, instead it is a betrayal of both trust in her by Germans who have placed their fate in her leadership. It's a disgrace to say the least.


by: melwin from: India
May 02, 2014 12:55 PM
If America and other countries are trying to isolate " RUSSIA" this so that America lack the capability of being a superpower.


by: tui from: Moscow
May 02, 2014 11:47 AM
Nobody will fight with Russia in coming years,but economic sanctions must be tight enough to harm Russia 's economy,so Putin will lose his popularity and will be overthrown.

In Response

by: melwin from: India
May 02, 2014 1:15 PM
LIONS cannot be overthrown You are just a kid


by: meanbill from: USA
May 02, 2014 10:52 AM
The US and NATO has retrained it's military to smaller "quick strike" operations, against much smaller and in weaker country conflicts - (AND?) - doesn't possess the ability for a larger conflict with a country like Russia...
Where would the US and NATO draw their military forces from around the world, and how long would it take to equip and ship them thousands of miles to Ukraine? -- That's the "weakness" of the US and NATO forces, (there's to many hotspots), and they don't have enough military to cover them all..
NATO is outdated, and the US lacks leadership, and it's military is stretched to the breaking point... "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu...

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid