President Obama says the U.S. won’t take military action in Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in troops to seize Crimea.
“We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” Obama told KNSD San Diego Wednesday, in one of six interviews he did with regional television reporters.
“I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge, for us to engage Russia militarily would not be appropriate and wouldn’t be good for Ukraine, either,” Obama added.
He dismissed Republican criticism that Putin was emboldened by anything the U.S. did.
“Mr. Putin acted out of weakness, not out of strength,” he said, noting that Ukraine had been governed by a Putin ally.
“He decided he didn’t want Ukrainians to make their own decisions about their own future,” he said. “His strategic decisions are in no way based on whether he thought that we might go to war over this.”
“I think there’s a clear understanding that when it comes to our core interests or our NATO allies, we can protect ourselves,” he added.
He said the administration would look to “mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we’ve got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message.”
He accused Russia of violating international law by annexing Crimea and Ukraine’s sovereignty, noting, “might doesn’t make right.”
The administration earlier this week slapped sanctions on 11 Russian officials and Obama pledged that it would continue to “ratchet up the pressure” if Russia continues to occupy Crimea.
“There’s a better path,” he said.