Obama says US plans to step up pressure on Russia, support Ukraine
The U.S. authorities intend to step up pressure on Moscow and to support Kyiv, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with U.S. television’s CNN channel on Sunday, according to Ukrainian newspaper Yevropeiska Pravda.
According to Obama, he is not optimistic about the possibility that Russia will change its policy towards Ukraine, but the United States would continue to provide diplomatic opportunities to Moscow to draw back from its involvement in Ukraine.
"We're going to keep on these dual tracks - putting more pressure on Russia, bolstering Ukraine, delivering a message to Mr. Putin that these off ramps and diplomatic resolutions remain available," he said.
Obama also said that Washington would strengthen economic pressure on Russia for its actions in Ukraine and was ready to use all available opportunities to end the military conflict in the Donbas. He also said Russia was behind the conflict in the east of Ukraine.
“What we've consistently seen is that the separatists are Russian financed, Russian trained; their strategy comes from Russia; Russian troops support them. And so we have not yet seen a recognition on the part of the Kremlin that it is in Russia's interests to resolve this issue over the long term.”
The U.S. leader again called for the European Union and the United States to remain united in relation to their response to Russia’s escalating the conflict in the east of Ukraine.
“In the meantime, we just have to make sure that we're firm in protecting our allies and supporting the principles that have maintained peace in Europe for the entire post-war period,” Obama said.