U.S. President Barack Obama said in a press conference Tuesday that the threats against ethnic Russians in Ukraine are not valid and not comparable to Kosovo.
"I think it's particularly important for all of us to dismiss this notion that Russian speakers or Russian nationals inside of Ukraine are threatened and that would somehow justify Russian action," said Obama.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he has no interest in Ukraine beyond the annexed Crimean region, but Russia will do anything necessary to protect ethnic Russians in any country. Russian troops have also lined the eastern border of Ukraine, making Ukrainian and western leaders worried that Putin may push further into the country.
Obama says there is absolutely no justification for this behavior. "There has been no evidence that Russian speakers have, in any way, been threatened," he said. "If anything, what we've seen is provocateurs who have created scuffles inside of Ukraine. But when I hear analogies for example to Kosovo, where you had thousands of people who were being slaughtered by their government, it's a comparison that makes absolutely no sense."
Obama stressed the need to not allow these excuses for Russian action to continue. Along with the other leaders of the G7, Obama voted to suspend Russian membership to the G8 and to move this summer's summit from Sochi to Brussels as condemnation for Russia's actions.