April 29, 2016


“Russian aggression has flagrantly violated the sovereignty and territory of an independent European nation, Ukraine, and that unnerves our allies in Eastern Europe, threatening our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. And it seems to threaten the progress that’s been made since the end of the Cold War. …

“Just as we stand firm in our own defense, we have to uphold our most basic principles of our international order, and that’s a principle that nations like Ukraine have the right to choose their own destiny.  Remember that it was Ukrainians on the Maidan, many of them your age, reaching out for a future with Europe that prompted Russia to send in its military.  After all that Europe endured in the 20th century, we must not allow borders to be redrawn by brute force in the 21st century.  So we should keep helping Ukraine with its reforms to improve its economy and consolidate its democracy and modernize its forces to protect its independence.

“And I want good relations with Russia, and have invested a lot in good relations with Russia.  But we need to keep sanctions on Russia in place until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreements that Chancellor [Angela] Merkel and President [François] Hollande and others have worked so hard to maintain, and provide a path for a political resolution of this issue.  And ultimately, it is my fervent hope that Russia recognizes that true greatness comes not from bullying neighbors, but by working with the world, which is the only way to deliver lasting economic growth and progress to the Russian people. …”

– President Barack Obama, in his address to the people of Europe, delivered on April 25 in Hannover, Germany.

“I’d like to respond to a couple of elements, not of the content of our distinguished Russian colleague’s statement, but just to a couple of points where he referenced the United States, either directly or obliquely. …I wanted to comment on …wording, in terms of use of the word ‘separatists.’ I’d just like to clarify, we use ‘Russia-backed separatists’ to indicate the accurate relationship – or sometimes we use the term ‘Russian-led separatist fighters’ to, again, express accurately the connection between Russia and the fighters on the ground. And that is not a political term; it is meant to be a statement, an accurate statement, reflecting the situation and why we are so deeply engaged with the Russian Federation, as are Ukraine and others, to try to find a peaceful solution to this. Because we have to acknowledge that the Russian Federation is the key driver of the conflict, and has been the key driver of the conflict from the outset.”

U.S. Ambassador Daniel B. Baer, addressing the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna on April 21.