Obama Warns of 'Costs' of Military Intervention in Ukraine; Putin Requests Approval to Send Troops

Presidents Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama. poniblog (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

President Obama appeared on television Friday to discourage any world power considering military intervention in Ukraine, specifically Russia that had been rumored to have soldiers in Crimea. While avoiding any specifics as to what the “costs” he warned about might entail, he did invoke the Olympics and international laws to send a clear message that Russia should, by all means, keep its boots off of Ukrainian soil. Here are some highlights from the U.S. president’s speech, according to BBC News:

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilising, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe,” he said.

“It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine — and of international laws.”

He added: “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 warning, however, seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Although the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet was already positioned in the southern, Russian-speaking region of Ukraine and unidentified troops (who are suspected to be Russian) have been taking control of airports in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin hadn’t officially attempted to send military forces to Ukraine. Until now.

Saturday, Putin asked his country’s parliament to authorize deployment of troops to Ukraine (not just Crimea), which it approved, unanimously. The Kremlin cited its concern for Russian citizens (many inhabitants of Crimea hold Russian passports) as the motivation behind the proposed military action.

Russia’s upper house of parliament has approved President Putin’s request for Russian forces to be used in Ukraine.

He had asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”….

Kiev has reacted angrily to days of military movements in Crimea, accusing Moscow of trying to provoke the new government into an armed conflict.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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