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.
Via Business Insider, here’s the full text of US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s strong statement on Russia and Ukraine, from today’s meeting of the Security Council.
Thank you Madam President. Listening to the representative of Russia, one might think that Moscow had just become the rapid response arm of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. So many of the assertions made this afternoon by the Russian Federation are without basis in reality.
Let’s begin with a clear and candid assessment of the facts.
It is a fact that Russian military forces have taken over Ukrainian border posts. It is a fact that Russia has taken over the ferry terminal in Kerch. It is a fact that Russian ships are moving in and around Sevastapol. It is a fact that Russian forces are blocking mobile telephone services in some areas. It is a fact that Russia has surrounded or taken over practically all Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea. It is a fact that today Russian jets entered Ukrainian airspace. It is also a fact that independent journalists continue to report that there is no evidence of violence against Russian or pro-Russian communities.
Russian military action is not a human rights protection mission. It is a violation of international law and a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent nation of Ukraine, and a breach of Russia’s Helsinki Commitments and its UN obligations.
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.”
Here’s an open thread for discussion of whatever’s going on. Apparently there’s something happening in Ukraine? The start of World War III or something like that?
But seriously, I doubt it’s going to come to a global thermonuclear war. At least, not today.