21 February, 2014 02:02 ▪
The Guardian: Obama criticizes Putin for Ukraine and Syria
Barack Obama sharply criticized Russian support for crackdowns in Ukraine and Syria, calling for a transitional government in Kyiv, The Guardian reports from the North American leaders’ summit in Mexico. The US is “on the side of the people”, the publication quotes the US President.
“You have, in this situation, one country that has clearly been a client state of Russia, another whose government is currently being supported by Russia, where the people obviously have a very different view and vision for their country,” Obama said. “I think this is an expression of the hopes and aspirations of people inside of Syria and people inside of the Ukraine who recognise that basic freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections – are fundamental rights that everybody wants to enjoy.”
Recent setbacks in Ukraine and at Syrian peace talks had pushed their (US-Russian – Ed.) already strained relationship to a fresh low, Obama said as quoted by The Guardian.
Events in Kyiv overshadowed the Mexico summit and precipitated a rapid hardening of the US position over the last 24 hours. Obama directed his criticism solely at the Ukrainian government, saying that it was “primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way”, the publication reports.
“When I speak to Mr Putin, I’m very candid about those disagreements,” Obama added. “But I want to emphasise this. The situation that happened in Ukraine has to do with whether or not the people of Ukraine can determine their own destiny.”