Obama: Actions in Ukraine Put Russia ‘On the Wrong Side of History’

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently announced that the United States will offer $1 billion to Ukraine in loans to aid the new opposition government transition in the face of military, economic, and political pressure from Russia. Kerry is currently in Kiev, Ukraine, accompanied by Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Toria Nuland and others, with a schedule for discussion with the Rada, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.

The loan itself comes with promises of assistance to the nation in economic and technical areas, according to the Washington Post, but there is a distinct lack of promised military support. “We’re going to continue to engage diplomatically. It’s the time for diplomacy. Nobody wants this to spiral in a worse direction,” Kerry tweeted on Sunday. He later said: “This is not the way modern nations resolve problems. There is still a right set of options. Not invasion.”

According to Kerry, the U.S. has made a number of moves to punish Russia’s current behavior, including stopping preparations for the Group of 8 summit, ending military contact, and ceasing economic discussion with Russia. The Guardian quoted Kerry saying, “Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for Russia to invade further” and that the country must “return forces to barracks and engage in legitimate policy of de-escalation,” or the U.S. and other nations will increase isolation.

President Barack Obama spoke about Ukraine on Monday, saying, “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.” He added that “the strong condemnation that it’s received from countries around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.” He went on to address the potential motives of Russia and to emphasize how costly military involvement in Ukraine would be to the nation, as well as to say that Congress has been working on an assistance package for Ukraine.

Other recent updates in Ukraine:

  • What began as a military exercise ended in 16,000 troops in the Crimean region, with military aircraft flown over Ukrainian airspace on Monday.
  • Ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country to find shelter in Russia after being declared a mass murderer by the opposition government. He continues to voice rhetoric to the effect that he remains Ukraine’s legitimate leader, while Russia has still failed to recognize the new leadership in Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted, according to BBC, that the troops are pro-Russian “local forces of self-defense,” as opposed to official Russian troops.
  • Putin said the West has been encouraging violent protest and that Russia reserves the right to “use all means” should ethnic Russians in Ukraine seek aid.
  • Ukraine is currently in a state of economic crisis, risking defaulting on debts. The nation had previously been depending on a promised loan from Russia, to be paid out in increments.

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