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Obama Says Russia Has Clearly Violated Agreement On Ukraine

February 09, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama said after a February 9 meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington that it is clear Russia has violated a previous agreement on Ukraine.

Obama said Russia has sent in more tanks and artillery rather than withdrawing military hardware that was already present in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are battling Ukrainian government forces.

Obama said Russian aggression has only reinforced international unity and warned that Russia cannot redraw borders 'at the barrel of a gun.'

Merkel said Russia had violated Ukraine's territorial integrity twice; once by illegally annexing Crimea and again by supporting the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Merkel said there have been setbacks on reaching a diplomatic solution with Russia over Ukraine, but the German Chancellor said she does not see any military solution to the situation in the east of the country.

However, Merkel said the situation in Ukraine was a threat to European stability.

'For somebody who comes from Europe, I can only say, if we give up this principle of territorial integrity, we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe,' she said

Both Merkel and Obama said that, if diplomacy fails, they would look into other measures they could take to convince Russia to cease aiding the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Obama said, 'If Russia continues on its current course, which is ruining the Russia economy and hurting the Russian people, as well as having such a terrible effect on Ukraine, Russia's isolation will only worsen both politically and economically.

Asked about the possibility of supplying weapons to Ukraine, Obama said his team is looking into all options against Russia if diplomacy fails and supplying lethal weapons is one of the options.

Obama said there is not going to be a specific point at which he decides lethal weapons are appropriate for hope and the focus for now remains on seeking a diplomatic solution.

But Obama said the United States and Europe are not looking for Russia to be contained or weakened.

Meanwhile, the European Union foreign affairs council met in Brussels on February 9 to discuss further sanctions against Russia and Ukrainian separatists.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the council has a list of 19 individuals and nine entities that would be subject to an asset freeze and visa bans, but she added the imposition of sanctions was being delayed to allow a Franco-German peace plan for Ukraine time to take effect.

The council was also waiting to see if a summit of leaders from Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany takes place in Minsk on February 12 and if there would be any progress from that meeting.

With reporting by Reuters and the BBC

Source: obama-merkel-putin-peace/26838628.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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