President Barack Obama told a press gathering at the White House Friday that he is concerned about potential destabilization if Russia sends its troops to Ukraine, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Obama said that “there will be costs” if Russia intervenes with “Ukraine’s threatened shift toward renewed civil conflict and a possible breakup as pro-Russia militants push for secession in Crimea.”
A little more than half the population in Crimea are ethnically Russian, a quarter is Ukrainian.
In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Unions, Crimea decided in a referendum to join the newly independent country of Ukraine, according to an article from Forbes.
The naval base at Sevastopol, on Crimea’s southwestern tip, is Russia’s only warm water naval base and its primary means of extending force through the Mediterranean, according to Forbes.
Local demonstrators from Crimea and activists backing the new government are sparking violence and quickly heading into war territory, according to The Guardian.
Arseniy Yatsenuik, acting prime minister in Kiev, said to The Guardian that Putin’s actions are a declaration of war.
We think that avoiding war at all costs is preferable, and if Obama can manage to be a leading figure in this process without using military force, then so be it.
However, we don’t want to see yet another Syria scenario, where our president seems to say one thing and then does another.
Although Obama may be drawing yet another red line for the international community, we think his comments hold merit provided he is prepared to follow through if the situation changes.
The Washington Post reported that Obama urged Putin to “step back” in a 90-minute phone conversation on Saturday.
Obama made it clear that if Putin doesn’t pull Russian forces back to their bases, the U.S. would suspend its participation in the 40th G8 Summit.
The G8 summit, which will be held in Sochi in June, is the unofficial forum brought together by the leading industrialized democracies.
We are glad to see the Obama
administration and the State Department have been conducting conversations over the past few days.
Secretary of State John Kerry intends to visit Kiev Tuesday as a sign of support, despite potential military intervention, according to the Washington Post.
If Russia continues to ignore the international community and further destabilizes the region through military force, we will support whatever economic and diplomatic measures are necessary.
We’re glad to see the U.S. is taking a diplomatic approach, rather than jumping the gun as the “world’s police.”