BY | March 3, 2014

Its entry into Crimea proves beyond doubt that Russia has invaded Ukraine. Now there are reasons to believe that Russia may be kicked out of G8 by member states or stringent embargo can be imposed against it.

US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a number of interviews Sunday morning in a bid to stress that both his country and G8 nations will not tolerate what he called a “brazen act of aggression in violation of international law” by Russia in Ukraine.

On the ABC program “This Week,” Kerry said Russia has greatly undermined its position among the world’s leading and wealthiest nations, the Group of Eight, and is “inviting the possibility of very serious repercussions on trade, on investment asset freeze, visa bans by the global community against this unilateral step.

“It is really a stunning willful choice by President (Vladimir) Putin to invade another country,” he remarked. “Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine.” When asked if any military options are on the table, Kerry responded that Obama “is currently considering all options.

“We would call on Congress immediately to the degree that they are prepared to be helpful, that they immediately lay down with us an economic package in order to assist Ukraine,” he said.

“Russia needs to understand this is serious, and we and the other friends and allies engaged in this are all deadly serious about this,” added Kerry. “You cannot behave this way in the 21st century and sit around the table of the normal entities and pretend that life is as usual.” He continued to urge a diplomatic approach to the standoff between Kiev and Moscow – a message that the Obama administration has been stressing since Friday – and explained that this week’s events should not be considered a resurgence of the Cold War.

“This is not or should not be East-West, Russia-United States, Russia versus Europe,” said Kerry. “This is about the people of Ukraine, people who stood up against snipers firing at them from the roofs, who are fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail.” He also warned Russia not to isolate itself from the world. “There will be costs to the economy of Russia, cost to Russian businesses, cost to Russian individuals” should Putin not withdraw his troops, stated Kerry.

On the CBS program “Face The Nation,” Kerry pointed to Russia’s currency, noting, “The ruble is already going down.

“Russia has major economic challenges,” he said. “I can’t imagine that an occupation of another country is something that appeals to people who are trying to reach out to the world,” particularly after spending more than USD 50 billion in order to display a positive image at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

While the US has abandoned plans to participate in the preparatory meetings for the G8 summit, which will also be held in Sochi in June, Kerry was still holding out hope that his country would not have to withdraw entirely.

“If Russia wants to be a G8 country, it needs to behave like a G8 country,” he stated.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who was also interviewed on CBS, was asked what strategic interests the US has in the region, to which he remarked, “We have European Union and NATO interests that border Ukraine. These are people who want to be free, who deserve to be free.

“This is a time for careful, wise, steady leadership,” he added. “The tensions increase, and I think all nations have to be very careful here of not promoting any more tension through provocative action.”


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