In violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and a its commitments under a range of international agreements, Russian troops seized strategic assets across the Crimean peninsula.
In violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and a its commitments under a range of international agreements, Russian troops seized strategic assets across the Crimean peninsula on March 2nd, effectively taking control of the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized this act of unprovoked aggression following months of pro-democracy protests in Kiev that eventually led to the formation of a new government after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country.
Speaking from the White House on March 6, President Barack Obama said the United States has been “mobilizing the international community to condemn this violation of international law and to support the people and government of Ukraine.”
The President announced the authorization for U.S. sanctions to be imposed on individuals and entities “responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.” He noted that the State Department has also put in place travel restrictions on certain individuals and officials.
“These decisions continue to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea,” Mr. Obama said. “And they also give us the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia’s actions.”
The United States, President Obama noted, adopted these measures in close coordination with our European allies, who have taken similar steps to impose costs on Russia and who, along with the United States, have announced substantial assistance for the government in Kiev.
President Obama made clear that this crisis should be resolved through negotiation, not further escalation. He urged consultations between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation of the international community; and he called for international monitors to be let into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians.
“Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that it abides by its agreements and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Mr. Obama. “And the world should support the people of Ukraine as they move to elections in May.”
“The United States is united with our allies and partners in upholding international law and pursuing a just outcome that advances global security and the future that the Ukrainian people deserve,” President Obama said. “That’s what we’re going to continue to do in the days to come until we have seen a resolution to this crisis.”