Obama: Russians not likely to surrender Crimea
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
President Barack Obama acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to surrender control of the strategically important peninsula it annexed from Ukraine, conceding that Western condemnations have had little effect on Vladimir Putin.
Obama insisted the international community never would recognize Russia’s takeover of Crimea. But he and European leaders, gathering in the Netherlands for a two-day nuclear summit, said a military response against Moscow was unlikely. The leaders focused much of their attention on keeping Russia from expanding elsewhere in Ukraine — even if that means enacting broad sanctions that have negative implications for their own economies.
“Some particular sanctions would hurt some countries more than others,” Obama said during a joint news conference with the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. “But all of us recognize that we have to stand up for a core principle that lies at the heart of the international order.”
The president spoke a day after the U.S. and its partners in the Group of Seven economic forum declared that they were indefinitely suspending cooperation with Russia, which often joins with the G-7 nations to form the Group of Eight. The leaders also said they were prepared to impose sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy, including its energy and defense industries.