The Hague – Russia’s attitude to its neighbours is a sign of weakness, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday after the Kremlin took control of the Crimea region from Ukraine.
“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbours, not out of strength but out of weakness,” Obama told journalists after a nuclear security summit in The Hague.
Obama said that while the US also has influence over its neighbours, “We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them.”
“The fact that Russia felt to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more,” Obama said after troops loyal to Moscow took over the Crimea peninsula, in what Russia said was a move to protect Russian speakers.
Obama rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russian speakers had been threatened in Crimea and in Ukraine.
“There has been no evidence that Russian speakers have been in any way threatened,” Obama said, the day after holding a Group of Seven summit suspended Russia from the grouping of rich nations.
“When I hear analogies to Kosovo, where you had thousands of people who were being slaughtered by their government, it’s a comparison that makes absolutely no sense,” Obama said.
“I think it is important for everybody to be clear and strip away some of the possible excuses for potential Russian action,” he said, before heading to Brussels to continue his tour of Europe and the Middle East. (AFP, news.yahoo.com)