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Obama: Russia "Acting Out of Weakness" on Ukraine



U.S. President Barack Obama says Russia was acting "out of weakness" and not strength in its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

In comments to reporters following a nuclear summit in The Hague Tuesday, Mr. Obama said the international community would never recognize Russia's takeover of Crimea, but he said a military response from the West was unlikely.

The U.S. leader said Washington is still concerned about "further encroachment" into Ukraine by Russia.

On Monday, leaders from the U.S. Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan said they were suspending their participation with Russia in the G8, until Moscow "changes course."

Russian news agencies quote a Kremlin spokesman as saying Russia is ready for and interested in continuing contacts with its fellow G8 countries.

Also Tuesday, Ukrainian marines began leaving Crimea by the busload as Russian forces took control of the last remaining military base under Ukrainian control.



The current instability surrounding Ukraine began last November, when President Viktor Yanukovych backed off from signing a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. The move led to weeks of anti-government protests in Kyiv that forced Mr. Yanukovych to flee the country last month.

People in Crimea voted last week in a highly controversial ballot to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, a move quickly embraced by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The United States and the European Union say the vote violates Ukraine's constitution and is illegal.

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