[JURIST] During a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, US President Barack Obama condemned [press release] Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty after Russian forces had taken up positions in Ukraine. Earlier that day, Russian lawmakers unanimously authorized [LAT report] the use of armed forces to protect their national interests and ethnic Russians in Ukraine, after Russian troops had already taken positions in Crimea, a region of Ukraine that houses Russia’s Black Sea fleet. While recognizing the need to protect minority Russian populations within the country, Obama called on Russia to “de-escalate tensions” by withdrawing forces and refraining from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. “If Russia has concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine, the appropriate way to address them is peacefully through direct engagement with the government of Ukraine,” Obama said to Putin, and stated that the US is prepared to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and the Ukrainian government. Obama also made clear that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community. In light of Russia’s continued violation of international law, the US will suspend upcoming participation in preparatory meetings for the G-8 summit, which will take place this summer in Sochi.
Members of the EU have also condemned Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Saturday called the situation in Ukraine “very grave” and urged [WSJ report] “all parties, including Russia, to try to calm things down.” The UK announced [WSJ report] that they are “deeply concerned” at Russian’s parliament’s authorization of military action on Ukrainian soil,” and summoned the Russian ambassador in the UK to register their deep concerns. The Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk on Saturday afternoon said “Europe and the world will not tolerate any aggression.” and called to [WSJ report] “pressure Russia for peace because it is this player who seems to be most interested in destabilizing situation in the region.” Russia has not confirmed it deployed thousands of troops to the Crimea region despite reports that armed forces wearing Russian military uniforms without insignia are patrolling key infrastructure sites.