Obama Not Seeking To Contain or Weaken Russia

Posted: Feb 09, 2015 1:35 PM

President Obama has made no decision about whether or not to arm Ukraine in their fight against Russia, Obama said Monday, also declining to identify any timeframe for when he will make a final decision.

"The possibility of lethal defense is one of those options that's being examined," Obama said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "But I have not made a decision about that yet."

"There is not going to be any specific point at which I say, 'Ah, clearly lethal defensive weapons would be appropriate here,'" Obama later said in response to a German reporter who asked if "the Nobel laureate" had any "red lines" on the Russia issue. "We are not looking for Russia to fail," Obama continued. "We are not looking for Russia to be surrounded and contained and weakened.Our preference is for a string prosperous vibrant confident Russia."

In his opening statement, Obama did acknowledge that Russia has "violated just about every commitment they made" in the Minsk agreement signed just this past September. But, Obama insisted, diplomacy was the only way forward.

"The prospect for a military solution to this problem, has always been low. Russia obviously has a extraordinary powerful military," Obama said. "Expecting that if Russia is determined, that Ukraine can fully rebuff a Russian army, has always been unlikely. But what we have said is that the international community, working together, can ratchet up the cost for the violation of the core principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity. And that is exactly what we've done."

So far it seems Russia has been perfectly willing to pay Obama's cost for invading the Ukraine. In addition to violating every commitment made in the September Minsk agreement, AFP is reporting that 1,500 Russian troops and 300 pieces of military hardware entered Ukraine over the weekend.