Via the Twitter timeline of official White House photographer @petesouza, our photo of the day. I’m sure conservatives will be pleased that the President is wearing an expensive suit for this one. Actually, I’m not sure.
Here’s the latest statement from the White House on the tense situation in Ukraine and Crimea: President Barack Obama Says Putin Is on ‘Wrong Side of History’.
President Barack Obama said Monday that if Russia continues an incursion into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, the United States would take diplomatic and economic steps to “isolate” the country.
Speaking to reporters in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said that invading the Ukrainian territory was a “violation of international law” that puts Russian President Vladimir Putin “on the wrong side of history.”
“What cannot be done is for Russia with impunity to put its soldiers on the ground and violate basic principles that are recognized around the world,” Obama said. Qualifying his threat on Friday that “there will be costs” for a Russian invasion, Obama added, “Over time this will be a costly proposition for Russia.”
The State Department also made a statement today that economic sanctions against Russia are “likely.”
The situation in Crimea continues to deteriorate, as US right wing politicians seize the opportunity to attack President Obama and demand MOAR WAR.
WASHINGTON — As Russia dispatched more forces and tightened its grip on the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday, President Obama embarked on a strategy intended to isolate Moscow and prevent it from seizing more Ukrainian territory even as he was pressured at home to respond more forcefully.
Working the telephone from the Oval Office, Mr. Obama rallied allies, agreed to send Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev and approved a series of diplomatic and economic moves intended to “make it hurt,” as one administration official put it. But the president found himself besieged by advice to take more assertive action.
“Create a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia,” urged Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “Revisit the missile defense shield,” suggested Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “Cancel Sochi,” argued Representative Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who leads the Intelligence Committee, referring to the Group of 8 summit meeting to be hosted by President Vladimir V. Putin. Kick “him out of the G-8” altogether, said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip.
By the way, Lindsay Graham didn’t just say, “Create a democratic noose around Russia,” he also called the President “weak and indecisive.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that President Barack Obama needs to “stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators.”
“It is not your strong suit. Every time the president goes on national television and threatens [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin or anyone like Putin, everyone’s eyes roll, including mine,” the South Carolina Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Addressing the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Graham said the United States has a “weak and indecisive president that invited aggression.”
[Live statement concluded… the discussion continues in our comments.]
A transcript of the President’s remarks:
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON UKRAINE
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody.
Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine. Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring.
I also spoke several days ago with President Putin, and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we’ve made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.
However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.
It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violence of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
The events of the past several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be in a country with deep divisions. But the Ukrainian people have also reminded us that human beings have a universal right to determine their own future.
Right now, the situation remains very fluid. Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister — the Prime Minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine. I also commend the Ukrainian government’s restraint and its commitment to uphold its international obligations.
We will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies. We will continue to communicate directly with the Russian government. And we will continue to keep all of you in the press corps and the American people informed as events develop.
Thanks very much.
END 5:09 P.M. EST