Sunday, March 2, 2014

US Treasury Secretary to AIPAC: US monitoring Ukraine with ‘grave concern’ Kerry States All Options on the Table

Updated: 2014 March 03 
Source: Press TV

The United States says it is observing the situation in Ukraine with “grave concern” after Russia deployed its troops to the strategic Ukrainian Crimea region.

“Before turning to the focus of my remarks, let me say that we are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine with grave concern,” said US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew before the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference.

“As President Obama told President Putin yesterday, Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity is a breach of international law,” according to the prepared text for delivery posted on the Press Center of US Department of the Treasury.

He added that the White House is prepared to provide the new officials in Kiev with as much financial support they need to fix their crisis-hit economy.

“The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs to restore financial stability and return to economic growth, if the new government implements the necessary reforms,” said the Treasury Secretary.

Mr. Lew said that Washington has called on Ukraine to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and that an IMF program must be the center piece of any assistance package.

“I have spoken several times to the Ukrainian Prime Minister who assures me that the government is prepared to take the necessary steps to build a secure economic foundation, including urgently needed market reforms that will restore financial stability, unleash economic potential, and allow Ukraine’s people to better achieve their economic aspirations.”

The US Treasury Secretary made the remarks as Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with economic sanctions in case it does not withdrew its military forces form the Ukrainian region.

“There are visa bans, asset freezes, isolation with respect to trade, investment,” the US Secretary of State said during the CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

“American businesses may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this. These are serious implications,” he added.

Kerry who is going to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday to show Washington's support for Ukraine's new leadership also threatened that Russia could be ousted from the Group of Eight (G8).

“Russia is going to lose, the Russian people are going to lose, and he’s going to lose all of the glow that came out of the Olympics, his $60 billion extravaganza,” Kerry said, adding that “He [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is not going to have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues."

Speaking on ABC’s This Week television program, Kerry issued a starker warning to Moscow, stressing that “all options are on the table” to deal with the crisis.

The upper house of the Russian parliament on Saturday approved Russian president’s request to deploy troops to Crimea. Putin made the request after Crimea’s regional prime minister asked him to help restore peace and calm in the region.

Ukraine has been gripped by protests since November when the government decided to shelve a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Russia bears no resemblance to Iraq, Syria: Analyst


Source: Press TV

A Russian political analyst and journalist has dismissed US President Barack Obama’s warning that ''there will be costs'' if Moscow intervenes militarily in Ukraine, stating that Russia bears no resemblance to Iraq and Syria, Press TV reports.

“Russia is not Iraq, Russia is not Syria. You cannot interfere there with impunity as it was in Iraq and Syria. Russia can fight back. So I hope that people in the European Union will come back to their senses and they will try to resolve this business (crisis in Ukraine) through dialogue,” Dmitry Babich said in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Sunday.

He also defended the deployment of Russian troops in the strategic Ukrainian region of Crimea.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin actually deployed the troops on his own - the Russia law gives him these powers, but he asked for permission from the parliament and got that permission,” Babich pointed out.

On Saturday, the Russian parliament granted Putin permission to use the country's military in Ukraine. Putin said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Crimea.

"I'm submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country," the Russian president noted in a statement released by the Kremlin.

Babich also argued that the European Union could not play a role as mediator in the long stand-off between the now-ousted president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and the opposition.

“The reason (Russian President) Vladimir Putin decided to basically pressure, you know, to show the government of Ukraine that he is going to protect Crimea is because the EU has been a very bad intermediary in the dialogue between former President Yanukovych and the opposition,” the Russian pundit said.

“I think the message is mostly to the West and to the new Ukrainian leadership. Putin shows the red line, which the West and the new Ukrainian illegitimate government cannot cross in Crimea,” Babich also commented.

On February 28, Obama urged Russia to pull back from Ukraine's Crimea region or face possible consequences.

"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," he said in televised comments from the White House. "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

News Updates on the unfolding events in Ukraine


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