Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday called Russia’s invasion of Crimea “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’s in violation of its obligations under the U.N. charter, under the Helsinki Final Act. It’s in violation of 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 of Russia-U.S., it’s serious in terms of sort of the modern manner in which nations will resolve problems,” said Kerry.
Kerry’s comments came during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He also appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine has now called Russia’s actions a “declaration of war” and the Ukrainian State Security Council has ordered military reservists to “report immediately to their mobilization stations.”
As tensions escalate, U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle publicly condemned Russia’s actions, while some Republican lawmakers criticized the president’s reaction.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) urged President Barack Obama to “stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators.”
“Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin everybody’s eyes roll, including mine,” Graham explained on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression. President Obama needs to do something. How about this: Suspend Russian membership in the G8 and the G20, at least for a year, starting right now. And for every day that they stay in the Crimea, add to the suspension. Do something.”
Kerry outlined a potential list of repercussions should Russia remain in Crimea.
“They are inviting the possibility of very serious repercussions on trade, on investment, on assets, asset freeze, visa bans, the potential of actions by the global community against this unilateral step,” Kerry said on “This Week.”
“The hope of the U.S. and everybody 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.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the actions by the administration to date have been inconsequential.
“If any of that would have gotten [Putin’s] attention, he wouldn’t have been there in the first place,” said Rogers.
“This is not an isolated incident. … This is direct relation to what’s happened in Syria, the negotiations there. They thought they did well. They’re holding their position. So, if you look at a series of events, Russia believes that there is nothing going to stop them, which is why they’ve been so aggressive in Crimea.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fl.) appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and noted he was “encouraged” by what Secretary Kerry said.
However, he added, “I think our policy towards Russia under this administration deserves heavy criticism.”
“There already things I would like to see us do in addition to the steps [Kerry] outlined,” Rubio continued. “It’s important to learn from the errors of the last few years where I think we have not accurately, or through this administration, assessed clearly what Russia’s goals are under Vladimir Putin. They’re not interested in building an international norm that nations conduct themselves under, like what Secretary Kerry was just describing a moment ago. They’re interested in reconstituting Russian power and Russian prestige, and often at the expense of U.S. national interests.”
While Rubio called for stronger pushback, he cautioned he was not advocating for military action, and Rogers echoed that sentiment.
“I’m a fairly hawkish guy, sending more naval forces to operate in the Black Sea is not a good idea given that we know that that day has long passed. Unless you’re intending to use them, I wouldn’t send them,” said Rogers.
“You’ve got now only economic options through the E.U. I would use those.”
Rogers argued it would be wise to pull out of the G8 summit now and “go into a very aggressive posture on how we help the Ukraine financially.”