Obama says Putin move into Ukraine not a sign of Russian strength

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2014 12:06 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine is not a sign of Russian strength but rather a reflection of the deep concern Russia's neighbors have about Moscow's meddling.

In remarks to reporters, Obama ridiculed Putin's reason for sending the Russian military into the Crimea region of southern Ukraine. Putin said the move was aimed at protecting Russian nationals but Obama calls the incursion a violation of international law.

"President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations," Obama said. "But I don't think that's fooling anybody."

Obama said he held a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday morning, his second such session in two days about Ukraine.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bill Trott)