WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the Crimean referendum which “violates the Ukrainian constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention,” and “would never be recognized by the United States and the international community”.
In a telephonic call with Putin , Obama also warned that the U.S is “prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.”
Obama spoke to Putin following Crimean referendum that took place amid lingering Ukrainian standoff. According to media reports, pro-Russian Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, the Kremlin also reported on the call, saying Putin told Obama that the referendum was fully consistent with the norms of international law and the U.N. charter.
Moscow compared the Crimea situation to the West’s recognition of a legal framework for the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
In the telephonic call, Obama emphasized that Russia’s actions were in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that, in coordination with our European partners, we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.
President Obama underscored that there remains a clear path for resolving this crisis diplomatically, in a way that addresses the interests of both Russia and the people of Ukraine, the White House said.
He noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take concrete steps that would allow for the de-escalation of the crisis, particularly as it prepares for elections this Spring and undertakes constitutional reform, and he asked that Russia support the immediate deployment of international monitors to help prevent acts of violence by any groups, a White House readout of the call said.
President Obama reiterated that a diplomatic resolution cannot be achieved while Russian military forces continue their incursions into Ukrainian territory and that the large-scale Russian military exercises on Ukraine’s borders only exacerbate the tension.
Obama said that Secretary of State John Kerry continues to be prepared to work together with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Ukrainian government to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
Washington has been leading diplomatic efforts for a resolution to the Ukrainian crisis that erupted last month. Ukraine’s interim government has offered constitutional reforms and consultation with Russia on a new arrangement for increased Crimean autonomy.