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Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Kerry is considering a stop in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, during his trip this coming week to Paris and Rome for discussions on Lebanon and Syria.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested suspending Russia’s membership in the Group of Eight leading industrial powers for at least a year, “starting right now,” and admitting Georgia into NATO in an effort to create “a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia.”

“Let’s challenge him where we can,” Graham said, explaining why he also favors reviving plans for a U.S. missile defense system with components in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the G-8 and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry tried to frame the crisis as broader than U.S. versus Russia or East versus West. “We’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. It’s about Ukrainians “fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.”

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.” Graham appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Kerry is considering a stop in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, during his trip this coming week to Paris and Rome for discussions on Lebanon and Syria.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested suspending Russia’s membership in the Group of Eight leading industrial powers for at least a year, “starting right now,” and admitting Georgia into NATO in an effort to create “a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia.”

“Let’s challenge him where we can,” Graham said, explaining why he also favors reviving plans for a U.S. missile defense system with components in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the G-8 and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry tried to frame the crisis as broader than U.S. versus Russia or East versus West. “We’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. It’s about Ukrainians “fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.”

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.” Graham appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Kerry is considering a stop in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, during his trip this coming week to Paris and Rome for discussions on Lebanon and Syria.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested suspending Russia’s membership in the Group of Eight leading industrial powers for at least a year, “starting right now,” and admitting Georgia into NATO in an effort to create “a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia.”

“Let’s challenge him where we can,” Graham said, explaining why he also favors reviving plans for a U.S. missile defense system with components in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the G-8 and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry tried to frame the crisis as broader than U.S. versus Russia or East versus West. “We’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. It’s about Ukrainians “fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.”

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.” Graham appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the Group of Eight countries and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry tried to frame the crisis as broader than U.S. versus Russia or East versus West. “We’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. It’s about Ukrainians “fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.”

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the Group of Eight countries and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry tried to frame the crisis as broader than U.S. versus Russia or East versus West. “We’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” he said. It’s about Ukrainians “fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.”

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin ‘act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Western powers are prepared “to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine, “an incredible act of aggression” that may lead to visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties, and a boycott of a Russian-hosted economic summit of global powers in June, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.

Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

But President Barack Obama had pressed his case in a 90-minute phone call Saturday with Putin, calling Russia’s actions “a clear violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and asking for his forces to pull back, and still the situation only grew more dire Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister warned that “we are on the brink of disaster,” while hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

Despite the strong words Sunday from America’s top diplomat, the Obama administration struggled to find a response that would might deter Putin, who contends that the turmoil in its neighbor posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Moscow has the right to protect them.

Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” amounts to “a stunning willful choice” by Putin to invade another country on a “trumped-up pretext,” Kerry said.

Kerry said he spoke on Saturday with foreign ministers from the Group of Eight countries and a few other nations, and “every single one of them are prepared to go to the gilt in order to isolate Russia” because of the invasion.

“They’re prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically. The ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges. I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to a people who are trying to reach out to the world, and particularly if it involves violence,” Kerry said.

Kerry also mentioned visa bans, the freezing of Russian assets, trade and investment penalties. He suggested American companies “may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this.”

He said the U.S. was “absolutely prepared” to boycott the G-8 meeting planned for June in Sochi, Russia, site of the just-concluded Winter Olympics, “if we can’t resolve it otherwise.”

Putin is “not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said. Along with the potential loss of foreign business investment and other economic penalties, that would be “a huge price to pay,” Kerry said, calling Russia isolated. “That is not a position of strength.”

The G-8 countries are the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Kerry also said the administration was ready to provide economic assistance “of a major sort” to Ukraine.

He made clear that a military response to counter Russia’s action was unlikely.

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.”

The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO. Broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Kerry was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week.”

Kerry: Repercussions for Putin `act of aggression’

KDWN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry calls Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine `an incredible act of aggression” and says President Vladimir Putin has made “a stunning, willful” choice to invade another country.

Kerry says Russia should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

Kerry is raising the possibility of boycotting the June meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Sochi, Russia.

He’s also discussing visa bans, asset freezes, and trade and investment penalties.

Kerry said he spoke with foreign ministers for G-8 and other nations on Saturday, and says everyone is prepared `to go to the hilt” to isolate Russia.

Kerry was interviewed Sunday on CBS, ABC and NBC news shows.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, strongly disagree over what’s at stake in the Ukraine crisis.

Those differing views were made clear in a 90-minute phone call and could make it difficult to find a resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.

In the Saturday call, Obama called Russia’s actions “a clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty” and called for Russia to pull its forces back to bases in Ukraine’s Crimean region and de-escalate tensions. President Putin responded that the turmoil in Ukraine posed real threats to the life and health of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and that Russia has the right to protect them.

Russian troops took over Crimea as the Russian parliament on Saturday granted Putin authority to use the military to protect Russian interests in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s newly installed government was powerless to react to the swarm of Russian troops.

The White House said in a statement that the Russian action was “a breach of international law.”

Hours earlier, Obama’s national security team huddled at the White House to get updates on the situation and discuss policy options. Obama did not participate. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry participated by videoconference.

“The United States condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory,” said Kerry, who voiced his support for Ukraine in a Saturday morning phone call with Ukraine’s President Oleksandr Turchynov.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart and stressed that, “without a change on the ground,” Russia risks further instability in the region, isolation in the international community and an escalation that would threaten European and international security, the Pentagon said.

But a defiant-sounding statement from Moscow suggested Putin is unlikely to back off.

“Vladimir Putin emphasized that, in the case of a further spread in violence in eastern regions (of Ukraine) and Crimea, Russia maintains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population that lives there,” the Kremlin said.

Obama told Putin the appropriate way to address concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine is to do so peacefully through direct contact with Ukraine’s new government and through international observers. He said the U.S. was prepared to help mediate such a dialogue.

Obama also made clear that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would have a negative effect on Russia’s standing in the eyes of the world.

Putin has so far dismissed the few specific threats from the United States. The U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to Ukraine’s defense because it does not have full-member status in NATO, while broader international action through the United Nations seems all but impossible because of Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Administration officials had said on Friday that Obama might retaliate by canceling a trip to Russia in June to attend the Group of Eight international economic summit and could also cut off trade talks with Moscow. The White House said Saturday that the U.S. will suspend upcoming participation in “preparatory meetings” for the summit, which is being planned for the Black Sea resort of Sochi, site of the just-completed Winter Olympics.

Political turmoil in Ukraine pushed President Viktor Yanukovych from office following massive pro-democracy protests after he rejected a partnership agreement with the European Union in favor of deepening his country’s historical ties with Moscow.

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.

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