A recurring question on all three appearances was what the cost would be to Russia for invading the Crimean and what President Obama had told Russian President Vladimir Putin. The answer on all three talk shows was similar and here is Kerry’s answer to Bob Schieffer of of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Well, we’re going to have to wait and see, but I think it was a very important conversation. The President was very strong. He made absolutely clear that this was unacceptable and that there will be serious repercussions if this stands. The President asked Mr. Putin, as – in fact, told Mr. Putin it was imperative to find a different path to roll back this invasion and undo this act of aggression. He pointed out the many different ways in which Russia could have chosen to act.
Below is a round up of interviews this Sunday:
Face the Nation
QUESTION: We are joined now by Secretary of State John Kerry who is in Boston this morning. Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here. The Ukrainian prime minister says this morning that Russia’s actions amount to a declaration of war and he says, “We are on the brink of disaster.” Do you agree with that?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations. Russia is in violation of its obligations under the UN Charter, under the Helsinki Final Act. It’s a violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest agreement. You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. So it is a very serious moment.
But it’s serious not in the context, Bob, of Russia-U.S. It’s serious in terms of sort of the modern manner with which nations are going to resolve problems. There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are. President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there is a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don’t choose to invade a country in order to do that. Read More
Meet the Press
QUESTION: I’m now joined by the Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, welcome back to Meet the Press.
SECRETARY KERRY: Glad to be with you. Thank you, David.
QUESTION: So for the past 10 days, Administration officials and the President himself have basically said to Russia: Don’t do this or else. Here, just Friday, the President laying it out when he spoke to Vladimir Putin.
(Video clip plays.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
(End of video clip.)
QUESTION: Now you’ve called this an invasion. So what are the costs?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re now discussing all of the options. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century, and there is no way, to start with, that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to assemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. Read More
ABC This Week
QUESTION: We are joined now by Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning. We’ve got these reports now – Russian forces surrounding Ukrainian military bases in the Crimea. Ukraine’s prime minister says, “We are on the brink of disaster.” Is he right?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we hope not. We hope it’s not going to be a disaster. What has already happened is a brazen act of aggression in violation of international law, in violation of the UN Charter, in violation of the Helsinki Final Act, in violation of the 1997 Ukraine-Russia basing agreement. Russia has engaged in a military act of aggression against another country and it has huge risks, George. It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century that really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G-8, to —
QUESTION: All those violations, sir, so what’s the penalty for what Russia has already done?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re busy right now coordinating with our counterparts in many parts of the world. Yesterday the President of the United States had an hour-and-a-half conversation with President Putin. He pointed out importantly that we don’t want this to be a larger confrontation. We are not looking for a U.S.-Russia, East-West redux here. What we want is for Russia to work with us, with Ukraine. If they have legitimate concerns, George, about Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, there are plenty of ways to deal with that without invading the country. They have the ability to work with the government; they could work with us; they could work with the UN; they could call for observers to be put in the country. There are all kinds of alternatives. But Russia has chosen this aggressive act which really puts in question Russia’s role in the world and Russia’s willingness to be a modern nation and part of the G-8. I think there are – they are inviting the possibility of very serious repercussions on trade, on investment, on assets – asset freeze, visa bans – on the potential of actions by the global community against this unilateral step.
QUESTION: Let me pin you down on that, sir. Specify it: Is the United States willing to impose sanctions if Russia doesn’t back down? Are you willing to go to Ukraine and show solidarity with the Ukrainians if Russia doesn’t back down?
SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. And the United States and the President is currently considering all options; they’re all on the table. We would call on Congress immediately to the degree that they are prepared to be helpful, that they immediately lay down with us an economic package in order to assist Ukraine. We think it’s very important for the international entities – the OSCE, the UN, NATO, the North Atlantic Council, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which will meet tomorrow – all need to weigh in and I believe they will weigh in heavily. Read More
Opinion. The underlying theme coming from the administration is that there is no real answer to what the cost will be. After a week of this crisis, with foreseeable results the US and its allies is still negotiating on how to proceed. The only substantive punishment to this point has been the elimination of preparatory funding for the upcoming Sochi summit, but without a solid commitment to start procedures to remove Russia from participation in the G8.
It would be surprising if President Putin considered the US or its allies a threat. There have been too many red lines during this administration’s tenure that have been crossed.