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Secretary Kerry says Putin is Weak and Desperate

March 2nd 2014

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Secretary of State John Kerry on March 2 blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “stunning, willful” choice to invade Ukrainian territory and warned of possible sanctions.

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” one of several appearances on network interview shows.

“It’s serious in terms of the modern manner in which countries resolve problems,” Kerry said.
“That’s not the act of somebody who’s strong, “ Kerry added, saying Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Kerry called Putin’s move a “brazen act of aggression” and raised the possibility that allied nations would move to kick Russia out of the Group of 8 in addition to boycotting the G8 summit in Sochi this summer.

“It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century that really puts into question Russia’s capacity to be in the G8,” Kerry said.

He called on Congress to put together an economic aid package for Ukraine and said the U.S. would be prepared to impose economic sanctions on Russia.

“It may well come that we have to engage in that kind of activity, absolutely. I think all options are on the table,” he said.

Kerry said specifically Russia is “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.”

When Putin sent Russian troops into Georgia in 2008, then-President George W. Bush dispatched warships to the region and distributed humanitarian aid on military aircraft. Asked if Obama was prepared to take similar actions, Kerry replied: “The hope of the United States and everyone in the world is not to see this escalate into military confrontation. That does not serve the world well, and I think everybody understands that. The president has all options on the table.”

Kerry said if Putin rolled back the military intervention, the U.S. would work with Russia to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine and “stand up to any hooligans, any thuggery” there.

Appearing after Kerry on the same program, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the House would be “very cooperative with the administration” on preparing an aid package for Ukraine and potential sanctions on Russia.

“First off, we have to accept that the reset with Russia is over,” Kinzinger said.

When asked on CBS if a 90-minute call between President Obama and Putin on Saturday had any impact, Kerry said “we’re going to have to wait and see.”

Obama made it clear during the call that Russia’s military intervention is “absolutely unacceptable,” Kerry said. "President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there are 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," Kerry added.

"There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are."

Kyle Balluck and Russell Berman write for TheHill.com, from where this article is adapted.


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