Obama: Russia’s aggression in Ukraine reinforces U.S. and allied unity

Speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), President Obama said the borders of Europe cannot be "redrawn at the barrel of a gun." (© AP Images)

In his February 9 remarks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, President Obama said international sanctions against Russia that were imposed because of its actions in Ukraine “need to remain fully in force until Russia complies fully with its obligations.”

Obama said Germany and the United States are united in standing up for ”the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty.” In the 21st century, the international community cannot “simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun,” he said.

The president added that Russia and the Ukrainian separatists it supports have “violated just about every commitment they made” in the October 2014 Minsk agreement.

Russia can be a partner on many global challenges, Obama said, and the United States wants Russia to be “strong, prosperous, vibrant, [and] confident,” but Russia also needs to see that the world is unified in imposing a cost for its decisions in Ukraine.

The president said he hopes the costs to Russia have become high enough that President Vladimir Putin’s “preferred option is for a diplomatic resolution” to the conflict in Ukraine.

At the same time, Obama said the United States is working with the International Monetary Fund and others to provide Ukraine with financial support as it pursues economic and anti-corruption reforms.

“We have made enormous efforts, enormous investments of dollars, of political capital, of diplomacy, in trying to resolve this situation. I think the Ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them,” he said.