White House: Ukraine Not Invaded; Russian Incursion Just Violates Its ‘Territorial Integrity’

Matt Vespa

8/29/2014 6:50:00 AM - Matt Vespa

Yesterday, Dan wrote about the president’s late afternoon press conference on the situation in Iraq and Ukraine. Basically, the leader of the free world said we don’t have a strategy to defeat ISIS and prevaricated in calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an “invasion.” We’re back to this again:

“We are, if there was any doubt, convinced that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine,” he [ President Obama] said. “Russia has deliberately and repeatedly [threatened] the territorial integrity" of that country.

“Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War,” he continued. “This ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more consequences for Russia.”

He refused to call Russia’s most recent incursion into Ukraine an invasion, defended his right to unilaterally order airstrikes into Iraq -- and Syria -- if necessary, and claimed the White House doesn’t have "a strategy” yet to effectively combat ISIL.

Buzzfeed noted that other foreign leaders are refusing to describe the recent string of events in Ukraine as an invasion, despite hard evidence that this could be one [emphasis mine]:

Russian combat troops are currently inside southeastern Ukraine. NATO released satellite imagery showing this on Thursday. “The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with sophisticated heavy weaponry, are operating inside Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” NATO Brigadier General Nico Tak said.

Despite this, no one seems to want to call what is going on in Ukraine an invasion.

Asked by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC on Thursday why the United States has favored terms like “incursion” and “aggression” instead of “invasion” to characterize the situation in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “I think this is a discussion about terminology” and that it doesn’t change the kind of support the U.S. is giving Ukraine and the discussions U.S. officials are conducting.”

Other Western leaders are mirroring the U.S. rhetoric, including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who said on Thursday that “I’m extremely concerned by mounting evidence that Russian troops have made large-scale incursions into South Eastern Ukraine, completely disregarding the sovereignty of a neighbor” and warned Russia of “further consequences.”

Yet, the evidence that this is indeed an invasion is mounting.

But, it's not an invasion.