News / Europe

US Has Few Options in Ukraine Crisis

President Barack Obama pauses during speech at the general session of the Democratic National Committee meeting, Washington, Feb. 28, 2014.
President Barack Obama pauses during speech at the general session of the Democratic National Committee meeting, Washington, Feb. 28, 2014.
Kent Klein
The White House says President Barack Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone for 90 minutes Saturday.

A written statement says the president told Putin sending Russian troops into Ukraine is a clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and a breach of international law.

Obama called on the Russian leader to withdraw his forces to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.

The president said Russia's actions would hurt its standing in the international community, echoing a warning he issued on Friday, when the White House threatened costs for Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

“Indeed the United States will stand with the international community in affirming there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," Obama said.

Russia's upper house of parliament recommended Saturday that President Putin recall the Russian ambassador from Washington.

Many U.S. experts agree that President Obama's options are limited. They say he is not seriously considering using force, although he is said to have talked with advisers about the idea of moving warships to the region.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and the Western alliance is not required to come to its defense.

Economic options appear more likely. One possibility is for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia's financial institutions.

Tim Brown, senior fellow at, says another is to freeze Russian leaders' offshore bank accounts.

"It's almost certain that Putin has a large, or several large, bank accounts of his own, and I would imagine that those are going to get frozen," Brown said. "So when they say there are going to be costs, it's not going to be to the Russian people. It's more along the lines it's going to be the Russian leadership personally."

Saturday's White House statement said the president told Putin the U.S. would suspend its participation in preparatory meetings for the Group of Eight (G8) summit, which is scheduled for June in Sochi. Obama and his aides are reported to have discussed canceling his trip to the summit altogether, or even kicking Russia out of the G8.

Scrapping a possible trade agreement with Moscow may be another alternative.

U.S. leverage is diminished by the need for Russia's help in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran and working to end Syria's war. Also, the U.S. uses Russian supply routes to move troops and equipment out of Afghanistan.

So far, the possible costs have not been enough to discourage Putin from sending Russian troops to Ukraine.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Lara
March 02, 2014 1:01 AM
hope it'll serve lesson for Putin

by: miguel from: us
March 01, 2014 11:54 PM
All comments are childish Russia would have none of it the great desseption is starting to fall.

by: Mooo ha mad from: UK
March 01, 2014 11:24 PM
"US Has Few Options in Ukraine Crisis..." - and I bet the Kenyan Muslim apostate will f## each and every one of them... Incompetence on display for all the world to see... "yes, we can"... LOL

by: Buffalo from: Water
March 01, 2014 11:13 PM
The only way copy from Afghan war 20 years ago. Afghan defected Russia with out condition.

by: Greg Hogan from: Kyiv
March 01, 2014 10:58 PM
Excuses are for losers. The USA, and NATO have plenty of options. No fly zone is one whereby NATO or the USA control the skies to prevent further escalation. Don't be fooled by cold war thinking and current PR: Russia's military is weak. If the west refuses to answer now, they will be forced to answer later with a much higher cost
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
March 02, 2014 11:27 PM
The USA and the EU have very limited options because Russia is a great nuclear power. the US and NATO's No fly zone means nothing to Russia because Russia can also establish its own No fly zone to prevent western airforce from entering Ukraine air space. Even if the US and the EU have some options they will certainly face with Russian retaliations. Crimea was Russian territory and was separated from Russia ilegally to merge into Ukraine in 1954 by an Ukrainian Soviet leader against the will of the majority of its population. It is high time for Crimea to be returned to Russia!
In Response

by: BG from: Kiev
March 02, 2014 3:25 PM
Wishful thinking. US is a paper tiger itself. It has yet to face a peer competitor in action. Fighting wars in 3rd world states does not a make a world class army.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 02, 2014 1:52 AM
Funny, America is weaker and retreating from Afghanistan! Russia on the other hand is getting richer these years.
Most important Russia got one ally, China!
Any way those Ukrainian mobs deposed their legitimate elected president by violence, they deserve punishment!

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
March 01, 2014 9:45 PM
Saying Crimea has been successfully invaded by Russia without war, the influential Israeli newspaper Haaretz editors write they want retaliation: more blood and violence in Syria as illustrated by their remark that "Western leaders, Obama in particular, have another avenue for hurting Putin: They can lift restrictions on shipping advanced weaponry to the rebels in Syria and expand their support of training camps for the Free Syrian Army in Jordan. This, in cooperation with the Saudis, who in recent weeks have greatly enlarged their shipments of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels."

by: David Kolberg from: Vancouver, WA
March 01, 2014 8:45 PM
I have never seen sanctions that work against the rulers of any nation, and I do not expect that I will see sanctions personally against Putin, no matter how badly he behaves. They always fall on the people.

by: Gennady from: Russia. Volga Region
March 01, 2014 8:36 PM
The best sanction the USA can impose in the crisis is to freeze Mr Putin’s multibillion offshore assets. Russian people are delighted to hear this. How can any true patriotically minded person hold all his life “savings” hidden from his Russian compatriots? To lose his fortunes will be unbearable to him. Certainly, he has accumulated “savings” in his preparedness to flee Russia on the pattern of the ousted Ukrainian President. They are berries of the same sort. The Russian are known to slow harness their horses but riding them fast. After the announcement of the USA sanction, I’m sure there won’t be any military intervention for he can lose Crimea but can’t lose his billions.

by: ZippyZion from: USA
March 01, 2014 8:35 PM
So the US response will either be:

"I don't like what you are doing so I'm not talking to you!"
"I don't like what you are doing so you can't have my stuff and I'm keeping the stuff I have of yours!"

Way to go Obama. The US doesn't seem like a weak pouting child at all.

If I were running the show we would have operation Chrome Dome back into effect and move naval fleets into the region as well as moving nuclear submarines into key locations from which we can launch on Russia. We don't need to drop bombs or fire rifles to show Russia we are ready and willing to abide by our defense treaties but waving a finger and acting like a spoiled child will not deter Putin. He sees the US as weak and lacking resolve.
In Response

by: Alis from: RF
March 04, 2014 9:53 AM
People, calm down! Nebudet nor any war. Russian soldiers will not win the Crimea and Ukraine to win and certainly our submarines do not swim to Washington! Do not panic and do not succumb to the propaganda media. You'd better pay attention to the rampant neo-Nazism in Europe, CIS and USA. these groups exploited by dishonest and dirty hands on people. Let's just say no to all the world of media and politics, extend a hand of friendship and Throw prejudices.
In Response

by: VeritasJKrump from: Virginia
March 02, 2014 9:50 AM
1) Go Active on Russia with full blown Cyber attack, and go to us forces to DEFCON 3
2) Ohio Class boomer subs to bastion
3) Carrier Battle group to eastern Med
4) B-52s to Aviano, Disperse fighter Wing from Aviano to Ankara, move KC-135 Tankers Incirlik, increase E-3A AWACS sorties over Turkey
5) Global Hawk flights over the Black Sea
6) B-2s to alert status with nuclear loadouts
7) Targeting data to MMIII LCCs

oh wait...we cannot afford any of that anymore...I guess we can call Putin complain a bit and then say we are "watching" with the rest of the world...oh and NASCAR is on today too.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 02, 2014 1:57 AM
Child, Russia has plenty nuke subs too. I guaranty they are already in position to attack America.
America is having tail in legs retreating from Afghanistan. It s gonna learn the pain for a while.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs