Obama: Russia used ‘brute force’ to intimidate Ukraine, West is united against Russia
By End the Lie
President Barack Obama slammed Russia on Wednesday, saying that the country used “brute force” to intimidate Ukraine and that the West is united against them.
“We’re coordinating around the potential for additional, deeper sanctions should Russia move forward and engage in further incursions in Ukraine,” Obama said to an audience of leading European Union figures assembled in Brussels. “If Russia stays on its current course the consequences for the Russia economy will continue to grow.”
However, Obama did not propose new sanctions or threats of military action in order to pressure Russian troops to leave Crimea, according to USA Today.
Obama addressed the various reasons offered by Moscow to justify the intervention point-by-point and dismissed them as “absurd” and unmerited, according The New York Times. However, Obama never mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin by name during the speech.
Interestingly, Obama offered the example of the Iraq war, which he opposed as a senator, as a contrast to the Russian actions in Crimea.
“But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system,” Obama said. “We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory … instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people.”
While Obama said that the West has an interest in a Russia that is both strong and responsible, it doesn’t give the country the right to move troops into neighboring nations.
“America and the world and Europe has an interest in a strong and responsible Russia, not a weak one,” Obama said. “But that does not mean that Russia can run roughshod over its neighbors.”
Obama said that Moscow’s repeated highlighting of the historical relationship between Russia and Ukraine does not justify their actions.
“Just because Russia has a deep history with Ukraine does not mean it should be able to dictate Ukraine’s future,” Obama said. “No amount of propaganda can make right something the world knows is wrong.”
He said that the dispute over Russian actions in Crimea is a “contest of ideas,” not another Cold War. This contest is one of what The Los Angeles Times called “outmoded nationalism against the progress of democratic ideals.”
Obama characterized the actions of Russia as “bully” behavior, while saying that the Ukrainian protesters were “voices for human dignity.”
“Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident, that, in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future,” he said.
Unlike the Cold War era, “Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology,” Obama said.
The president added that both the U.S. and NATO do not seek to enter into a conflict with Russia.
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