WASHINGTON, February 10, 2015 – During aa joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a reporter with the German Press Agency asked President Barack Obama if he had a “red line” in Ukraine, and how “Nobel Laureate Obama” could handle the situation.
“President, you said you have not yet made a decision as to whether weapons ought to be delivered to Ukraine; what would be your red line? What would be the red line that needs to be crossed for you to decide a — an armament of the Ukrainian army? And what do you think will this hold by way of a promise, because the chancellor said it will make matters worse? What can the Nobel Laureate Obama do more to defuse the situation?”
The reporter then asked Merkel about “the breach of confidence” in U.S./German relations after the NSA phone hacking scandal, asking if it “played a role” in the difference of opinion of how best to deal with Vladimir Putin.
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Obama audibly sighed after hearing the question. “Do you want to go first on this?” he asked Merkel.
While President Obama said that the option of supplying Kiev with “lethal defensive weapons” is on the table, even as Chancellor Merkel said there is no “military solution” to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Merkel in Washington.
“I want to emphasize that a decision has not yet been made,” Obama said when questioned about weapons a second time. “It is true that if, in fact, diplomacy fails, what I’ve asked my team to do is to look at all options. What other means can we put in place to change Mr. Putin’s calculus?”
Merkel may participate in talks with Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France in an attempt to resurrect the ceasefire roadmap signed back in September. Last week Merkel, with French President Francois Hollande, met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
The EU has postponed new sanctions against Russia ahead of the peace talks however Obama insists that current sanctions “need to remain fully in force.” even as Obama admitted that current sanctions have “not yet dissuaded Mr. Putin from following the course that he is on.”
Saying that even though they might have tactical disagreements, the two leaders will have a united front
“Russian aggression has only reinforced the unity between the United States, Germany and other European allies,” the president said. “There’s going to continue to be a strong, unified response between the United States and Europe – that’s not going to change,” said Obama.
“For somebody who comes from Europe, I can only say, if we give up this principle of territorial integrity, we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe. It’s essential,” said Merkel, condemning Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, as well as the splintering of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.