Sunday talk dominated by the situation in Ukraine.
This week, Sunday’s political talk shows were dominated by news of the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine and Russia’s response to the situation, which has Western diplomats on edge.
Late last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought permission to send troops to the Ukrainian region amid condemnations from U.S. leadership, Britain and NATO, as well as a call for de-escalation from the United Nations’ Ban Ki-moon.
Despite international calls to stand down, Putin ordered upward of 6,000 Russian forces to the Crimean Peninsula.
The White House, on Sunday, said that President Barack Obama had been in talks with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — all four leaders expressing “grave concern” stemming from Russia’s “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Top American diplomat John Kerry made separate appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the White House’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis.
Strongly condemning Putin’s decision to activate troops, Kerry said Russia’s actions in Crimea were indicative of “a stunning willful choice” on the part of Putin “to invade another country.”
“Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations; Russia’s in violation of its obligations under the U.N. charter, under the Helsinki Final Act. It’s in violation of obligations under the 1994 Budapest agreement. You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. So, it is a very serious moment, but it’s serious not in the context of Russia-U.S., it’s serious in terms of sort of the modern manner in which nations will resolve problems,” the Secretary of State said.
Ukraine’s State Security Council has described Russia’s actions as a “declaration of war” and ordered military reservists in the country to mobilize.
Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers in the U.S. spent Sunday criticizing the Obama Administration’s response to the situation in Ukraine.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told “Meet the Press” that he was encouraged by Kerry’s remarks but said that the current Administration’s policy toward Russia leaves much to be desired.
“It’s important to learn from the errors of the last few years where I think we have not accurately, or through this administration, assessed clearly what Russia’s goals are under Vladimir Putin,” Rubio said. “They’re not interested in building an international norm that nations conduct themselves under, like what Secretary Kerry was just describing a moment ago. They’re interested in reconstituting Russian power and Russian prestige, and often at the expense of U.S. national interests.”
Rubio called on the U.S. to use every resource short of military action to urge a Russian withdrawal from the region.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared on “State of the Nation,” decrying what he and many other Republican leaders describe as empty threats from the White House.
“Every time the President goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin everybody’s eyes roll, including mine,” he said.
Graham said that the U.S. should take a hard stance and immediately suspend Russia from the G8 and G20 for at least one year.
A Kremlin statement relayed that Putin has no imperialistic intentions in Ukraine and was simply responding to an “unrelenting threat of violence from ultranationalist forces (in Ukraine) that endangered the life and legal interests of Russian citizens.”