ABC’s George Stephanopolous appeared skeptical of the White House’s promise of “serious repercussions” should Russia continue its invasion of Ukraine, asking Secretary of State John Kerry if he has “any indication at all that President Putin is taking heed of what President Obama is saying?”
Kerry appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday to discuss the surprise Russian invasion of a strategic region in southern Ukraine on Friday, talking tough against Russian President Vladimir Putin while offering few specific consequences.
“Russia has engaged in a military act of aggression against another country, and it has huge risks, George,” he said. “It’s a 19th-century act in the 21st century that really puts at — at question Russia’s capacity to, uh — be within the G-8…”
“All those violations, sir,” Stephanopolous cut in, “so what’s the penalty for what Russia has already done?”
The Secretary of State noted the United States was still “busy coordinating” with allies, and that President Barack Obama had spoken with Putin for 90 minutes yesterday.
“I think all options are on the table,” Kerry later commented. “There’s no question but that Russia needs to understand this is serious. And we and the other friends and allies engaged in this are all deadly serious about this. We call on Russia to engage with the government of the Ukraine. We’re prepared to work very closely with Russia in order to address any legitimate concerns that exist. We believe there are many alternatives before you get to an invasion, and none of those have been tried at this point.”
“But the invasion has already happened, hasn’t it?” Stephanopolous again interrupted.
“The invasion of Crimea has already happened, that’s absolutely accurate,” Kerry replied, “and we believe that President Putin should make the decision to roll it back.”
“We understand that Russia has interests in Crimea,” the secretary explained. “The Ukrainian government is prepared to respect the base agreement. Nobody has threatened those Russian interests. And we’re prepared to stand up against any hooligans, any thuggery, any individual efforts, with Russians, in order to create stability in Ukraine and allow the people of Ukraine to make their choices for the future.”
“But do you have any indication at all that President Putin is taking heed of what President Obama is saying? “an exasperated-sounding Stephanopolous asked.
“Well, they just had the conversation yesterday,” Kerry responded. “And the president invited him to engage with the government — I understand there may have been one phone call. We’re going to continue to engage diplomatically. This is a time for diplomacy… Nobody wants this to spiral into a bad — uh, worse direction.”
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