U.S. President Barack Obama spoke out on the tense situation in the Ukraine Tuesday, saying his administration believes in the principle that "sovereign, independent people are able to make their own decisions about their own lives."
Mr. Obama criticized Russia's recent military actions while visiting a school in Washington to highlight his new budget. Russia's military has taken over Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, a strategic, mostly pro-Russian area in the country's southeast.
"There is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law. I know President [Vladimir] Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don't think that's fooling anybody. I think everybody recognizes that although Russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state."
The Obama administration announced a $1 billion energy subsidy package in Washington Tuesday as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The United States is looking into economic sanctions amid fears Moscow might stretch its military reach farther into Ukraine.