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Obama puts Ukraine violence squarely on Russia


By BRADLEY KLAPPER

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama suggested Thursday that the U.S. might impose new economic sanctions on Russia, blaming it squarely for the warfare in eastern Ukraine. But he ruled out any military options and proposed no shift in an American-led strategy that has yet to convince Moscow to halt operations against its far weaker neighbor.

Briefing reporters at the White House, Obama said he spoke by telephone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Europe's largest economy and a country that has led diplomatic efforts to end the fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels. They spoke after two columns of Russian tanks and military vehicles entered the country's southeast and fired Grad missiles at a border post and 1,000 Russian troops poured into the country, according to NATO and Ukrainian officials.

"We agree, if there was ever any doubt, that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia, they are armed by Russia, they are funded by Russia," Obama said. "Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see."

Obama was cautious in foreshadowing a possible American response, expressly ruling out any U.S. military involvement. He said Russia's recent activity in Ukraine would incur "more costs and consequences," though these seemed to be limited to economic pressure that will be discussed when Obama meets with European leaders at a NATO summit in Wales next week. He also offered "unwavering commitment" to Ukraine and announced that its Western-looking president, Petro Poroshenko, would visit the White House next month.

The Russian offensive comes after months of fighting in eastern Ukraine, which U.S. and other Western countries say Moscow has orchestrated. After Ukraine's pro-Russian leader fled the country earlier this year and a new government turned away from Moscow toward its European neighbors, Russia seized and annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Since then, it has continued to provide support for armed pro-Russian groups fighting the Ukrainian government despite rising U.S. and European sanctions against Russian government officials, banks and energy companies.

Obama said the sanctions have been "effective," prompting capital to flee Russia and its economy to decline, but they've done little to convince Putin to end Russia's intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic. The president said Russia has been involved in all separatist activity and that the latest its latest escalation appeared to be a response to progress by Ukraine's government against the main rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

"This is not a homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine," Obama said. Putin, he added, has "repeatedly passed by potential off-ramps to resolve this diplomatically" and "we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to actually try to resolve this in diplomatic fashion."

Russia continued Thursday to say there is no proof its troops are operating in Ukraine, without delivering firm denials, even as its forces and separatist rebels appeared to take control of the strategic town of Novoazovsk, breaking open a third front in the war. The new southeastern front raises fears Moscow is creating a land link between Crimea and Russia. Novoazovsk lies on the road between the territories.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Russia was engaged in a "pattern of escalating aggression." But she, too, was vague about any immediate steps the United States might take even to help Ukraine, saying Washington's focus was on "nonlethal" assistance and not any defensive or offensive military equipment.

Obama still held out hope for Russia to change course.

"What we're doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia," he said. "But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming." Russia's actions have only hurt itself, he said, leaving it more isolated than at any point since the end of the Cold War - something he hoped would become increasingly apparent to its leaders.


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markschupp August 28 2014 at 5:17 PM

An American and a Soviet man talking:

AMERICAN MAN: In America, anyone can openly criticize our President.
SOVIET MAN: Big deal. In the USSR too, anyone can openly criticize your American President.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
b.shagnasty markschupp August 28 2014 at 6:25 PM

That's one of my favorite jokes that Gorbachev told Reagan.

(...Reagan tells the story better!)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rh1216 August 28 2014 at 5:38 PM

Obama blames and Putin gives him the finger....I would like to give Barry the finger as well....not for this but for trashing our Constitution.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
4 replies
guso August 28 2014 at 4:56 PM

"He says Russia's incursion into Ukraine will bring additional consequences."
I AM SURE PUTIN IS QUAKING IN HIS BOOTS !

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
rwgebo1889 guso August 28 2014 at 9:24 PM

Well, he means he (Obama) will have to make another speech to lecture us again.. and again ... and again..... (THey will be articulate though.)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
and.then.what August 28 2014 at 5:57 PM

Proverbs for the wise...
That can apply to action taken
toward both ISIS and Russia.

"Talk is cheap".
It is easier to say you will do something than to actually do it.

"Actions speak louder than words".
What you do is more significant than what you say.

"Well done is better than well said". ~Benjamin Franklin

"Never mistake motion for action". ~Ernest Hemingway

A nod,
a bow,
and a tip of the lid
to the person
who coulda
and shoulda
and did.
~Robert Brault

"Talk doesn’t cook rice".
~Chinese Proverb

"Do not be wise in words,
be wise in deeds".
~Jewish Proverb

"When deeds speak, words are nothing".
~African Proverb

Flag Reply +9 rate up
1 reply
musterseed and.then.what August 28 2014 at 6:21 PM

Time cook some rice.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
leslie August 28 2014 at 5:01 PM

There he goes again pointing that crooked azz finger at someone!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
3 replies
wbearl August 28 2014 at 6:29 PM

Okay he has now firmly fixed the blame, time to go Campaign, play golf or take so well earned vacation. It is embarrassing to see him on TV, to the rest of the world, I'm sorry.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
coopdabomb August 28 2014 at 5:32 PM

The only country afraid of osama obama is the U.S.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
dhsdome August 28 2014 at 5:45 PM

Once again the BLAME GAME and no action. Why doesn't he just resign and do everyone a favor?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
wayne8734 dhsdome August 28 2014 at 6:54 PM

dhsdome,if Obuma resigned,then who would pay for all of his vacations??????

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rjen164497 August 28 2014 at 5:53 PM

Putin is a BULLY. Obama is a weenie. America suffers throught two and one-half more years of being picked on. America will suffer for many years to come for this worst President ever. Anyone who can be worse than Jimmy Carter is someone who will never be beaten to the bottom of the barrel.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
wayne8734 rjen164497 August 28 2014 at 6:32 PM

At least Carter loved his country!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
AngiesD789 wayne8734 August 28 2014 at 10:06 PM

Yes Carter did, he really believed in what he did. Obama does all the things he does for his own gain !!!

Flag 0 rate up
MIKEY'S SCREEN August 28 2014 at 5:15 PM

"Obama points the finger at Russia."

WOW!

From "Drawing a Red Line in the Sand"

to

"Pointing a Finger at Russia."

Looks like a good time to hit the Golf Courses before a real crisis erupts somewhere in the world, huh?

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
aol~~ 1209600

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