By Erik Wasson - 03/13/14 12:51 PM EDT
Kerry downplays possibility of wider Russian military action
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday downplayed the risk of wider Russian military action in Ukraine that goes beyond its takeover of the Crimea region.
Kerry told the Senate Appropriations Committee that at this time Russia does not have the troops in place to “take over all of Ukraine” but the United States is closely monitoring military activities.
He also said that leaders of other former Soviet republics are fearful of Russia but they are not in any real danger at this time of an invasion.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Kerry whether the U.S. would provide military hardware if the Ukraine does face a larger invasion.
Kerry said the administration was examining various contingencies.
“Our hope however is not to create hysteria or excessive concern about that at this time,” Kerry said. “Before we get there we have a number of options to show Putin the level of isolation he faces.”
The secretary of State is to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London on Friday and he said that he hopes Lavrov will be carrying instructions from President Vladimir Putin to diffuse the situation.