September 25th, 2014 09:02 EST
Obama Calls on Russia to Renounce Use of Force
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly today, President Barack Obama called on Russia to stop its journey down the path of force and embrace diplomacy and peace with respect to Ukraine.
While the United States wants Russia to renounce violence, Obama said, it is under no illusions.
America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy, " the president said. We will reinforce our NATO allies, and uphold our commitment to collective self-defense. " The United States has participated in exercises throughout the Baltic republics and Poland, American aircraft have flown Baltic air policing missions, and American ships have increased patrols in the Black Sea.
Countering falsehoods with truth
Obama promised to impose a cost on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, and vowed to counter falsehoods with the truth. We call upon others to join us on the right side of history -- for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions, " he said.
Russia`s actions in Ukraine counter the trend in Europe toward diplomacy and negotiations, the president said.
Russia acted after the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, Obama said, and their corrupt president fled the country and took asylum in Russia. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed, " he added. Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. "
When the Ukrainian military began reasserting control over portions of the nation under separatist control, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border, " the president said.
The recent cease-fire in Ukraine gives Russia an opening to move off the path of force. If Russia takes that path -- a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people -- then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia`s role in addressing common challenges, " he said.
Obama pointed to efforts such as nuclear weapons agreements and getting chemical weapons out of Syria as examples of what the United States and Russia can accomplish when they work together.
This speaks to a central question of our global age: whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interests and mutual respect, or whether we descend into destructive rivalries of the past, " Obama said. When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress. And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength to working with nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century.
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