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 globalsecurity.org, 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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
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!"
or
"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
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs