News / Europe

Obama: Russia Acting 'Out of Weakness' on Ukraine

President Barack Obama speaks during their joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Mar. 25, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks during their joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Mar. 25, 2014.
VOA News
President Barack Obama said 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, Obama said the international community would never recognize Russia's takeover of Crimea, while adding that 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. 

On the same day the U.S. president made those remarks, Russia staged military training exercises in Transdniestria, a breakaway region of Moldova.
       
NATO's top military commander also expressed concern Sunday that after seizing Crimea, Moscow might have its eye on the mostly Russian-speaking region that borders western Ukraine.

Speaking alongside Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Obama said that Crimea being a part of Russia is not a "done deal" because it violates international law.

"We're not recognizing what has happened in Crimea," he said, adding sanctions  against Russia may deepen into energy and trade sectors. "It is up to Russia to act responsibly and show itself once again to be willing to abide by international norms and...if it fails to do so, there will be some costs."

For now, however, Obama and fellow G7 leaders have decided against more damaging economic sanctions unless Russia shows further aggression and goes beyond the seizure of Crimea.

Obama said he believes if Ukrainians had a choice, they would seek to have a relationship with both Europe and Russia.

The U.S. president also said all NATO nations have assurances that they will continue to be protected under the alliance's security guidelines.

Rutte, the Danish prime minister, said he cannot envision the Crimea situation ending in a military conflict. 

"This is a difficult issue. It can't be solved overnight," said Rutte, who also commended Obama's leadership.

Obama also said he doesn't consider Russia to be the number one U.S. national security threat and that he is more concerned about the possibility of a nuclear bomb going off in New York. 

'Counterproductive'

Russia, meanwhile, has dismissed as "counterproductive" a move by world powers to cut Moscow out of the Group of Eight industrialized nations over its actions in Ukraine.
Trade balance between 28 member nations of Europe and RussiaTrade balance between 28 member nations of Europe and Russia
x
Trade balance between 28 member nations of Europe and Russia
Trade balance between 28 member nations of Europe and Russia
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin made the comment one day after the seven other G-8 nations agreed to hold their own Group of Seven summit in June instead of attending the previously-planned G-8 meeting in Russia.

In a joint statement issued on the sidelines of the  nuclear summit in The Hague, Netherlands, the leaders of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan said they were suspending their participation with Russia in the G-8, until Moscow "changes course." Western powers have been moving to isolate Russia over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

Russian news agencies quote the Kremlin spokesman as saying Russia is ready for and interested in continuing contacts with its fellow G-8 countries. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday it would be "no great tragedy" if Russia were dropped from the coalition.

Lavrov met his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia Monday on the sidelines of the nuclear summit. It was their first meeting and the highest-level meeting yet between the Russian government and the new Ukrainian government.

On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu toured Russian military headquarters in Crimea, as Russian forces seized Ukraine's last military base on the peninsula and Ukrainian forces withdrew.

Late Monday, Russia's Ria Novosti news agency quoted Crimea's deputy prime minister as saying all military units in the peninsula are now under the control of the Russian military.

Images from Ukraine and Crimea
 
  • Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Ukrainian soldiers transport their tanks from their base in Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Russian police cars drive and Ukrainian soldiers walk behind Ukrainian tanks at Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, March 26, 2014.
  • Crimean retirees line up to get their pensions in Russian rubles inside a post office in Simferopol, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Ukrainian marines prepare to leave their base in Feodosia, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Russian sailors stand on board the ship Aleksandrovets at the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, March 25, 2014.
  • Ukrainian sailors leave the Konstantin Olshansky navy ship in the bay of Donuzlav, Crimea, March 24, 2014.
  • People line up to apply for Russian passports in Sevastopol, Crimea, March 24, 2014.
  • A man carries a placard with currency rates at an exchange office in Sevastopol, Crimea, March 24, 2014.


Troop movements

Ukraine's Secretary for National Security, Andriy Parubiy, tells VOA that about 100,000 Russian troops and armor are poised along Ukrainian borders and remain on full alert.

That troop presence on Ukraine's eastern and southern borders has triggered alarm in Kyiv. It also has spawned warnings from NATO that Moscow may be seeking to expand its territorial reach into another pro-Russian territory on Ukraine's southwestern border - Transdniester.

For its part, Moscow has insisted the border troops are conducting maneuvers, and says there are no plans to cross into Ukraine.

Ukraine has remained highly unstable since November, when then-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 Yanukovych to flee the country last month.

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

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 4
    Next 
by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet- Africa
March 28, 2014 4:56 AM
Joseph Effiong from: calabar - nigeria, you still speak like a Calabar man. Be wise and stop wallowing in darkness or else, the US will instigate you one day under the disguise of democratic moves and you would take up arms as a rebel.


by: Ally from: Russia
March 27, 2014 7:27 AM
Bruce: Russia just eighth in the world in terms of GDP)) Not Align the us with Indonesia)))


by: Ruslan from: Russia
March 27, 2014 12:47 AM
to Dominic: "Russia uses force because it can't use words" - it is really funny to hear it from an american)


by: Domenic from: Boston, Massachusetts
March 26, 2014 5:09 PM
Russia uses force because it can't use words. America uses words because it can't use force. Deep down, everyone understands that. However, to say that the Russians are acting out of weakness is something I think nobody understands. Wow, this President is the master of the "spin".


by: Joseph Effiong from: calabar - nigeria
March 26, 2014 3:20 PM
Russia should know that Soviet union has died a natural death . Crimean has decided to be enslaved into the frustration of russia. The pride of russia has been soiled because of their wickedness.


by: TellAll from: What does it matter?
March 26, 2014 10:30 AM
Yes, Russia is acting out of weakness. Sounds like something they would say, when they get caught with their own hands in the cookie jar. The US tried with their world meddling to annex the Ukraine into US control. This backfired when Russia called their bluff. Now all the US has is propaganda directed at making Russia look bad. The weakness is in the US. The US is, was, and always will be afraid of Russia.


by: Churchill's Ghost from: Ontario
March 26, 2014 9:33 AM
Anyone who thinks that the annex of Crimea has anything to do with it's population of ethnic Russians is living in fantasy land. The annex of Crimea doe however have eveything to do with oil, natural gas, and Black Sea naval ports.


by: Richard E. Reader from: Ruskin, Fl.
March 26, 2014 9:28 AM
Look who's calling Russia weak. Our President was weak the day he took office. Oh how I miss President Bush.


by: marcuscassius from: arkansas
March 26, 2014 9:06 AM
This is NOT the voice of America. They should leave the saber rattling and the war mongering to those that actually fight. Criticizing the president for actions taken, with information that they obviously do not have, reduces this to an opinion paper. America doesn't need another hate spewing war mongering opinion. We have the entire Tea Party for that. A group of old scared white people that will never have to fight.


by: Joe Clark from: PA
March 26, 2014 9:00 AM
To those who sympathize with Russia and stand with their propaganda, here is a litmus test: Can access Russia's Ria Novosti news site, register with them and comment on what is happening and know that my civil comments will not be edited or removed? Take serious note, Free Speech matters to the very core and is why this 'right' is given to all Americans under the FIRST Ammendment of the Constitution... the FIRST. Russia cannot even fathom giving its people such freedoms.

Comments page of 4
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid