Officers of the Ukrainian navy ship Lutsk are seen after the ship was seized by Russia on March 20. (Andrew Lubimov/AP)
President Obama has ruled out any sort of military intervention in response to Russia’s move to annex the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine, he told an NBC affiliate in San Diego.
“We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” Obama told an anchor from the station on Wednesday. “What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we have a strong international coalition that sends a clear message, which is the Ukraine should decide their own destiny.
“Russia, right now, is violating international law and the sovereignty of another country. Might doesn’t make right and we are going to continue to ratchet up the pressure on Russia as it continues down its current course. There’s a a better path but I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge that for us to engage Russia militarily would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukrainians.”
The U.S. government has refused a Ukrainian government’s request for arms and other military equipment, the Wall Street Journal has reported. However, the Defense Department is working with the U.S. embassy in Kiev and the Ukrainian defense ministry to send 300,000 Meals Ready to Eat to Ukraine, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez told Military Times.
The U.S. military has also sent 12 F-16s and about 150 airmen to Poland on a training mission and six F-15s and a KC-135 to Lithuania to help safeguard Baltic airspace.
In his interview, Obama said he is not worried that the lack of a U.S. military response and war weariness at home might embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“His strategic decisions are in no way based on whether he thought we might go to war over this,” Obama said. “I think there’s a clear understanding that when it comes to our core interests or our NATO allies, we can protect ourselves.”