The crisis in Ukraine is consuming Washington’s attention, with the Obama administration issuing stark warnings to Russia over its seizure of Crimea, while Ukraine mobilizes military reservists and accuses Moscow of declaring war.
With Russian troops deployed in Crimea and the threat of war in Eastern Europe growing by the day, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s incursion.
“A brazen act of aggression in violation of international law, in violation of the U.N. Charter. It is a 19th century act in the 21st century.”
Kerry spoke on ABC’s This Week television program.
His words echoed those of NATO officials and major U.S. allies. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed “the rights of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future without outside interference.”
Before departing for Kyiv Sunday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said violations of Ukrainian sovereignty “cannot be the way to conduct international affairs.”
Moscow says it is acting to protect Russian citizens and sympathizers in eastern Ukraine, a goal Kerry said can be accomplished without the use of force.
“We ought to be able to work this out through the diplomatic process,” he said. “If Russia chooses not to, there will be serious repercussions,” said Kerry.
The secretary stressed that “all options are on the table” to deal with the situation.
Also appearing on This Week, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger said America’s diplomatic “reset” with Russia has failed.
“Now it is time to respond with strength. I think it is time to talk about economic sanctions, it is important to talk about aid to the Ukrainian people, to have Congress on the record supporting the inclusion of Georgia into NATO,” Kinzinger said. “Talk about, ‘Look, Russia, if you want to threaten your neighbors, including Ukraine, we are going to talk about the expansion of NATO.’”
Other U.S. lawmakers say an upcoming G-8 summit should be moved out of the Russian resort city of Sochi, which hosted the Olympics last month. The United States and several EU nations have either pulled out of G-8 summit preparations or called for those efforts to be suspended.