Obama Goes Out of His Way to Exclude Military Response to Russian Aggression in Ukraine

President Barack Obama, June 3, 2014I’ve been very clear that it would not be effective for us to engage in a military conflict with Russia on this issue, but what we can do is to continue to support Ukraine’s ability to control its own territory. And that involves a combination of the economic pressure that’s been brought to bear in sanctions, the diplomatic isolation that has been brought to bear against Russia, and, as important as anything, making sure that we’re continuing to provide the support that Ukraine needs to sustain its economy during this transition period, and to help its military with basic supplies and equipment, as well as the continuing training and exercises that have been taking place between NATO and Ukraine for quite some time.

We are deeply concerned about the latest break in the cease-fire and the aggression that these separatists — with Russian backing, Russian equipment, Russian financing, Russian training and Russian troops — are conducting. And we will continue to take the approach that we’ve taken in the past, which is to ratchet up the pressure on Russia.

And I will look at all additional options that are available to us short of a military confrontation in trying to address this issue. And we’ll be in close consultation with our international partners, and particularly European partners, to assure that they stay in lockstep with us on this issue. What we’ve been very successful at is maintaining unity across the Atlantic on this issue, and that’s going to be a continuing priority of mine.

Excerpt from response by President Barack Obama to question from the press, New Delhi, January 25, 2015.

Image: President Barack Obama, June 3, 2014 (photo: J. Cieślikowska/Foreign Ministry of Poland)