As the Russian military reportedly entered eastern Ukraine Thursday in what the Ukrainian government is calling an apparent invasion, President Barack Obama addressed the escalating crisis, calling for a solution but not, necessarily, for action. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Obama said there'll be no military action against Russia, putting to rest fears of another U.S. military engagement.
Instead of taking military action, the president said he is focused on strengthening support from America's European allies. "We are mobilizing the international community to apply pressure on Russia," Obama said. A military solution, however, "is not forthcoming."
For Obama, a military solution to halt Russia's invasion of Ukrainian sovereignty is simply not needed. The president reiterated that Russia is already "more isolated than at any time since the Cold War," a position that ultimately hurts the power of the nation and its leader, President Vladimir Putin:
The fact that Russia has taken these actions ... has resulted in a weakening of Russia. It may not be apparent immediately, but it will become increasingly apparent. [Putin's actions] have isolated Russia from its trading partners, its commercial partners ... its economy is in decline.
The president is traveling to Europe to meet with members of NATO in the coming week. There, Obama will continue to work with Ukraine's European allies (Ukraine is not a member of NATO). He hinted that "additional steps" may be taken against Russia once he meets with other European leaders.
Although the president didn't elaborate too much on the ongoing Ukraine crisis, his words make it apparent that Putin has backed Russia into a corner — at least, as far as the international community is concerned. Obama said he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel before addressing the press room, and the two world leaders were convinced that Russia has been behind the violence in eastern Ukraine.
In fact, it was "obvious," Obama said:
The separatists were encouraged by Russia. Trained by Russia. Armed by Russia. Funded by Russia. ... The new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine makes that obvious.
Those images, from a NATO satellite, were presented to the United Nations Security Council earlier on Thursday. They reportedly revealed heavily armed Russian forces in Ukraine, fighting alongside the separatists. A U.N. ambassador told the council that Russia has "outright lied" about its involvement in Ukraine over the last year.
Images: Screenshot/White House Stream, Getty Images