Secretary of State John Kerry listens to translation during a joint news conference with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, as Kerry opened a fourth round of the U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue. Kerry said he had called Russia's foreign minister to express U.S. concerns over military activity in Crimea that could further inflame tensions in Ukraine following the ouster of its Russian-backed president. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON — Delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern Friday over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned “there will be costs” for any intervention.
He did not say what those costs might be.
Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.
“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply stabilizing,” Obama said in a hastily arranged statement delivered from the White House. Such action by Russia would not serve the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russia or Europe, Obama said, and would represent a “profound interference” in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.
“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” Obama said. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”