WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John F. Kerry, denouncing what he called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an “incredible act of aggression,” said the United States is considering an array of economic sanctions to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course or to punish him if he refuses.
The decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops to Crimea, a region of Ukraine, “is really a stunning willful choice by President Putin to invade another country,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” one of several Sunday morning TV shows on which he appeared.
Kerry made it clear that the U.S. was not considering a military move to counter Putin’s action. On ABC’s “This Week” program, Kerry said that “the hope of the U.S. and everybody in the world is not to see this escalate into a military confrontation.”
“Nobody wants this to spiral in a bad or a worse direction,” he said.
“The invasion of Crimea has already happened,” Kerry said. “And we believe that President Putin should make the decision to roll it back.”
He also appeared to concede that Russian forces would be able to establish control of at least that portion of Ukrainian territory. But, he said, in the long run, Russia would suffer economic and diplomatic isolation as a result.
“You know, he may be able to have his troops for some period of time in Crimea,” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” But “the fact is he’s going to lose on the international stage, Russia is going to lose, the Russian people are going to lose.”
“He’s going to lose all of the glow that came out of the Olympics, his $60 billion extravaganza,” Kerry said. “He may find himself with asset freezes on Russian business. American business may pull back. There may be a further tumble of the ruble. There’s a huge price to pay.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that Russia could be sparking a “very dangerous situation” if it continues its incursion into Ukrainian territory. “This is a time for careful, wise, steady leadership,” he said on “Face the Nation.”
“We have many options, like nations do. We’re trying to deal with the diplomatic focus.”
Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Ukrainians are “preparing to defend ourselves” and called for military backing from the West. “When the Russian troops … are enlarging their quantity with every coming hour, naturally we will ask for military support and other kinds of support.”
Kerry said the Obama administration would ask Congress to begin work on an economic aid package for Ukraine that would seek to stabilize that country’s new, pro-western government. After years of economic mismanagement and corruption, Ukraine is near bankruptcy, officials there have said. AFP