Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is considering several punitive actions in response to the Russian invasion of the Crimea region of Ukraine and said the ball is in President Vladimir Putin's court on whether he will pull back or face the consequences.
“It's a 19th century act in the 21st century that really puts at question Russia's capacity in the G-8,” Kerry said Sunday on ABC News' “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
But Kerry said the Obama administration would work with its Russian counterparts if they have legitimate concerns about protecting Russian speaking people in the Crimea region of Ukraine and their interests there.
“We are not looking for a U.S.-Russia, East-West redux here,” he said. “ There are all kinds of alternatives ... we are prepared to work with Russia.”
If Russia doesn't back down though, Kerry listed several actions the U.S. is mulling including the possibility of pulling out of the G-8 Summit planned to take place in June in Sochi, Russia, limits on trade investments, freezing Russia's overseas assets, visa bans and other “actions by the global community against this unilateral step.”
President Obama spoke to Russia President Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes Saturday. Putin reportedly stood by his right to protect Russian interests in Crimea and Obama warned him about the consequences if he did not pull Russian troops out of the area.
The European Union Foreign Affairs Council is set to meet Monday to weigh options and Kerry stressed that the U.S. and its allies are working overtime to try to find a solution to de-escalate the situation.
“We are prepared to work with Russia ... in order to create stability in the Ukraine and allow the people in Ukraine to make their choices,” he said.
“This is a time for diplomacy – nobody wants to see this spiral into a bad or worse direction,” he said, all but ruling out a U.S. military response even as he said Obama is keeping “all options on the table.”