News / USA

Washington React: Obama Aims to Work With Putin to Calm Ukraine

Luis Ramirez
The United States says it respects Russia's interests in Ukraine, but that it expects Moscow to pull its troops back to their bases and stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty. 

But Russia is showing no signs of backing down as troops continue to take up positions in Crimea and a Russian-sponsored referendum that could result in the region becoming part of the Russian Federation draws near.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney speaks to reporters on March 11, 2014.White House Spokesman Jay Carney speaks to reporters on March 11, 2014.
x
White House Spokesman Jay Carney speaks to reporters on March 11, 2014.
White House Spokesman Jay Carney speaks to reporters on March 11, 2014.
The Obama administration is trying to give Russia a way out of the crisis.  White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday said the U.S. goal is to see a de-escalation of the situation.

“We are working to see if the Russians are willing to resolve this matter diplomatically," he said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on the telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for 45 minutes on Tuesday, but reported no progress.

Carney indicated the United States is not opposed to a continued Russian role in Crimea, as long as Russian troops return to their bases.

“What we're talking about when we say that we absolutely recognize that Russia has interests in Ukraine and they include in Crimea, we're referring specifically to the Black Sea fleet base - for example - which is in Crimea, a Russian naval base as part of an agreement with the sovereign nation of Ukraine and that we completely respect," Carney said.

One of the reasons Russia has given for intervening in Crimea is its concern for what it says is the rights of the ethnic Russian minority living there.  The Obama administration has called on the Ukrainian government to honor the rights of ethnic Russians, but has also said it does not believe Russian reports that members of that minority have been abused.

In the meantime, U.S. officials say they are assessing whether to begin implementing the visa restrictions and financial sanctions that President Obama announced last week if Russia continues its moves to consolidate control over Crimea.

Analyst Michael O'Hanlon with the Brookings Institution in Washington says the Obama administration will have no choice but to step up penalties if Russia makes no concessions.

“If things stay as they are, I think we need to apply some sanctions that are hurtful to the Russian elite," O'Hanlon said. "I’m not suggesting broad-based sanctions based on this referendum and potential annexation of Crimea.  I’m not suggesting we try to go after their energy sector or all their banks.  But I think that Putin and his cronies need to have some targeted sanctions on their visas, their travel and their bank accounts and be put in place and stay in place.”

The United States also wants Russia to begin a dialogue with the Ukrainian government, which Moscow does not recognize.  

Obama is preparing to host Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, on Wednesday.  The invitation is a message to Russia that the new Ukrainian government has Washington's support.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: meanbill from: USA
March 11, 2014 7:56 PM
THE QUESTION IS; .... Will the vote by Crimean's to declare Crimea to be an independent state be LEGAL?
THE ANSWER: .... The International Court of Justice ruled that it was (LEGAL) when Kosovo voted to become an Independent State, and set it's legality by their ruling.. (set a precedence)..
NOW? .... Since the International Court of Justice set it's precedence setting decision on Kosovo, (it's to be assumed), that the (International Court set precedence) of portions of countries voting to become Independent States, like Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and now Crimea, are strictly legal isn't it? .... (Russia thinks so).. ..... REALLY

     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid