President Barack Obama said on Monday night that Russia was “on the wrong side of history” with its incursion into the Crimean peninsula and said he was considering economic and diplomatic options to punish it if it didn’t reverse course quickly.
“Over time this will be a costly proposition for Russia and now's the time for them to consider whether they can serve their interests in a way that resorts to diplomacy as opposed to force,” Mr Obama told journalists in the Oval Office shortly before a long-scheduled meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister.
“What cannot be done is for Russia with impunity to put its soldiers on the ground and to violate basic principles that are recognized around the world," the President added. "And I think the strong condemnation that it's received from countries around the world indicates the degree to which Russia's on the wrong side of history on this."
"What we are also indicating to the Russians is that if in fact they continue on the current trajectory that they're on, that we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic — that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia's economy and its status in the world.”
Meanwhile, at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York, the Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, insisted that that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had requested Russia's armed forces be deployed in Crimea to establish law and order before fleeing Kiev last week. However, President Yanukovych had previously said he would not ask for Russian military assistance.
The Russian claim drew a withering response from Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN. "One might think that Moscow has just become the rapid response arm of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” she said. Earlier the Ukrainian mission to the UN said that 16,000 Russian troops were now on the ground inside the country’s borders
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