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by
Bridget Johnson

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February 19, 2014 - 12:07 pm

President Obama finally chimed in on the Ukraine crisis after landing in Mexico today for meetings with President Enrique Peña Nieto, drawing a weak sort of red line on the violence in the former Soviet state.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the violence that’s taking place. And we have been deeply engaged with our European partners as well as the Ukrainian government and the opposition to try to ensure that that violence ends,” Obama said. “But we hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protestors in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression.”

“And I want to be very clear as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we’re going to be watching closely and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protestors.”

At least 25 people have been killed in the past couple of days as Ukrainian police have dispatched snipers to target protesters and chucked Molotov cocktails at their fortifications. Protesters have tried to hold off police with a fire barrier in Kiev’s main square, which police have been trying to breach with water cannons.

Obama added that “we expect peaceful protestors to remain peaceful and we’ll be monitoring very closely the situation, recognizing that with our European partners and the international community there will be consequences if people step over the line.”

“And that includes making sure the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians,” he said. “So the United States will continue to engage with all sides in the dispute in Ukraine and ultimately our interest is to make sure the Ukrainian people can express their own desires and we believe a large majority of Ukrainians are interested in an integration with Europe and the commerce and cultural exchanges that are possible for them to expand opportunity and prosperity.”

“But regardless of how the Ukrainian people determine their own future it is important the people themselves make those decisions and that’s what the United States will continue to strive to achieve.”

Obama made no indication that he’s reached out to President Viktor Yanukovych. The two last met in March 2012 and the White House has been letting Vice President Joe Biden handle relations.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
""There will be consequences if people step over the line."
Yawn. So far, Obama has put politics over and above everything; even the lives of people. He has long since lost the authority to speak on our behalf ...
quietly assembling a massive militarized force to do his bidding; he is just another tin-pot dictator.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
“But we hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protestors in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression.”

And...I'm sending Lois Lerner and Cass Sunstein over to show you exactly how to go about ensuring that...and a team from MSNBC to cover the exchange.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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So the Big O draws another red line.

How about a red line for the Western NGOs, US dollars, and agents that are pouring gasoline on the fire in the Ukraine? The West doesn't give a nickel for the lives of the Ukrainian people, no matter the suffering the West will cause there.

The West tried it on Armenia causing immense suffering until we threw your sorry a**es out. I am now hearing that the West is using Islamic Tartars against the Ukrainian government. Just how low will the US and the EU go with the lives of other people?

You people in the West that put up with your governments meddling in other countries disgust me. You in the West, go away, leave us alone!!!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
now you kids behave or NO cookies!!!!!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obamie tried to force a socialist dictator back into the presidency of Honduras over the objections of the people/court and military. In this case the POTUS of the Ukraine is a murderous crook who steals millions from the public treasury every year to support himself and his cronies, sound familiar?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Peaceful protesters" ??? Well, these protesters are burning the city, even policemen are among the victims. This feels like an orchestrated revolt, like Egypt, like Libya, like Syria. Who is behind it ? Remember the leaked Nuland tapes ?
Politicians over here in Europe are also rattling about the mean and oppressive Ukrainan government and shout about intervention or sanctions but I do not think that they have their citizens behind them this time either. We don´t want to meddle in other countries affairs, we don´t want a civil war in our backyard, we don´t want more refugees coming here. The Ukrainans have to deal with it and hopefully in a new election. By the way, these politicians can go on however they like about democracy and human rights in Ukraine but it´s all hypocrisy because nobody is prepared to give asylum to one wanted man, Snowden. Politicians are simply not to be trusted.
What if some of all the Islamists started to burn cities in Europe requiring regime change ? What if other nations felt compelled to support this ?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
""There will be consequences if people step over the line."
Yawn. So far, Obama has put politics over and above everything; even the lives of people. He has long since lost the authority to speak on our behalf ...
quietly assembling a massive militarized force to do his bidding; he is just another tin-pot dictator.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are much too civilized here in 21st century America to ever take to the streets against our tyrants.

Here in the Nations they call us the civilized tribe. They call us civilized because we are easy to sneak up on. – Chief Dan George
(The Outlaw Josey Wales – 1976)
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin will be shaking in his boots. Oh, fetch me a hanky, I feel faint.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
A 'weak red line'? More like another bright Yellow line.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yet another forceful and relevant comment from our White House. Joy.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Come on Zero - nobody is fooled by your bark any longer. You need bite to go with the bark - and you don't have much bark either.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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