US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine could end up driving countries away from Russia. Obama, who was speaking at an elementary school in Washington DC, said there was room for Ukraine to “be a friend of the West and a friend of Russia”.
“I think we’ve all seen that from the perspective of the European Union, the United States, allies like Canada and Japan, and allies and friends and partners around the world, there is a strong belief that Russia’s action is violating international law,” said Obama.
“I know President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations but I don’t think that’s fooling anybody. I think everybody recognizes that although Russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state,” he added.
The Obama administration announced a one billion US dollar energy subsidy package in Washington as US Secretary of State John Kerry was arriving in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Tuesday. The fast-moving developments came as the United States readied economic sanctions amid worries that Moscow was ready to stretch its military reach further into the mainland of the former Soviet republic. The Ukraine government is continuing to grapple with a Russian military takeover of the Crimea peninsula, a strategic, mostly pro-Russian region in the country’s southeast.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Moscow reserves the right to use its military to protect Russians in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea but voiced the hope that it will not need to do so. Putin declared that Western actions were driving Ukraine into anarchy and warned that any sanctions the West places on Russia for its actions will backfire.
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