Obama says Russia not abiding by Geneva agreement on Ukraine
TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
U.S. President Barack Obama makes a point next to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference in the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, April 24. REUTERS PhotoU.S. President Barack Obama said April 24 that Russia is not abiding by agreements aimed at defusing the crisis in Ukraine, in his first public comments since the Geneva meeting.
"There was some possibility that Russia could take the wiser course after the meeting in Geneva. So far at least we have seen them not abide by the spirit or the letter of the agreement in Geneva," he said.
"Instead we continue to see malicious, armed men taking over buildings, harassing folks who are disagreeing with them, destabilising the region and we haven't seen Russia step out and discouraging it.
"On the other side you have seen the government in Kyiv taking very concrete steps, introducing amnesty law, offering the whole range of reforms with respect to the constitution, that are consistent with what we discussed in Geneva."
Obama, in Tokyo at the start of a four-nation tour of Asia, said he had been pessimistic from the start that Moscow would stick to what was agreed in Geneva.
"We have already applied sanctions that have had an impact on the Russian economy. We have continued to hold out the prospect, the possibility to resolve the issue diplomatically."
"We've been very clear about the fact that there is not going to be a military solution to the problem in Ukraine.
But, he warned, if Russia does not play its part, there would be "consequences and we will ramp up further sanctions."