Hagel: US Dealing 'Diplomatically' With Ukraine Situation

Sunday, 02 Mar 2014 05:27 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A full-on Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a "very dangerous situation," but the United States plans to deal with the issue diplomatically, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel insists.

Hagel told Bob Schieffer on CBS News "Face the Nation"  — in an interview recorded Friday but aired on the Sunday show — that a forceful move by Russia would set in motion "so many different dynamics that are not in anyone's interests." Hagel's comments came before Russian troops moved into Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, which is on the Black Sea and houses a large Russian naval base.

The United States has numerous options, said Hagel, but the "appropriate responsible approach" is diplomacy, and that's what path the country will continue following.

Story continues below video.



Saturday, the Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin permission to send troops into all of Ukraine, where protesters last week ousted former President Victor Yanukovych, a close Putin ally.

Ukraine, Hagel said, is a "sovereign, independent nation" and the United States supports it.
"They have been a responsible new independent member of the global community since the implosion of the Soviet Union," said Hagel, noting that the United States has both European Union and NATO interests bordering the country.

Secretary of State John Kerry, making the talk show rounds Sunday after threatening sanctions against Russia, told Schieffer that Russia's move into the Crimea peninsula was an "an incredible act of aggression and "really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country."

He said the country has violated the sovereignty of Ukraine and its international obligations.

"It's serious in the modern manner for nations to reserve problems," said Kerry.



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