John Kerry says America is “ready to act” against Russia and that the “window to change course is closing”. But is this just more empty words? Channel 4 News looks back.
Russian troops take up positions in Crimea.
US President Obama: “The US will stand with the international community in affirming there will be costs for any military intervention in the Ukraine.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry: “It is really a stunning, wilful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of its international obligations.”
President Obama: “The strong condemnation that Russian has received around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin: “This was an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power. Russia reserves the right to use all means to protect citizens in Ukraine.”
Crimea’s parliament votes to join Russia. President Obama orders first set of sanctions for Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, including travel bans and freezing of their US assets.
President Obama: “While we [start imposing sanctions] I want to be clear that there is also a way to resolve this crisis that respects the interests of the Russian as well as the Ukrainian people.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “This crisis was not started by us. We are ready to continue dialogue on the understanding that this dialogue should be honest, without attempts to portray us as one of the sides in the conflict.”
John Kerry: “There will be consequences if Russia does not find a way to change course, and we don’t say that as a threat, we say that as a direct consequence of the choices that Russia may or may not choose to make here.”
Sergei Lavrov: “We will respect the expression of the will of the Crimean people in the upcoming referendum. The Russian Federation does not and cannot have any plans to invade the southeastern regions of Ukraine
Crimea votes in referendum, with a 96 per cent support to rejoin Russia in an election that EU leaders describe as “illegal and illegitimate”. The US respond with further sanctions.
President Obama: “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbours, not out of strength but out of weakness.”
Sergei Lavrov: “I don’t want to say that sanctions are ridiculous and that we couldn’t care less, these are not pleasant things. We find little joy in that, but there are no painful sensations. We have lived through tougher times.”
President Obama: “My hope is that we actually do see follow-through over the next several days, but I don’t think, given past performance, that we can count on that.”
At least three people manning a pro-Russian checkpoint near Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine are shot in a move that enrages Russia, which blames it on Ukrainian nationalists.
Sergei Lavrov: “Before giving us ultimatums, demanding that we fulfil demands within two or three days with the threat of sanctions, we would urgently call on our American partners to fully accept responsibility for those who they brought to power.”
President Putin: “Overall [sanctions] are harmful for everyone, they destroy the global economy [and] are dishonourable on the part of those who use those types of tools.”
President Obama: “There was some possibility that Russia could take the wiser course after the meeting in Geneva. So far at least, we have seen them not abide by the spirit or the letter of the agreement.”
John Kerry: “If Russia continues in this direction, it will not only be a grave mistake – it will be an expensive mistake. The window to change course is closing. We are ready to act.”