By Kristina Wong - 04/30/14 11:02 PM EDT
Ukrainian pop star Ruslana Lyzhychko called on President Obama to show "courage" to end the Russian intervention in Ukraine at an awards dinner in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night.
"Mr. President Obama, words cannot stop tanks," Lyzhychko, an active member of the opposition group Euromaidan, said at the event hosted by the Atlantic Council, according to AFP.
Calling Ukraine a "problem of courage," Lyzhychko said, "The U.S. must be strong. Europe and the rest of the world will follow."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who received the Distinguished International Leadership Award, thanked Lyzhychko for her "eloquent words," and called on U.S. citizens to not pull back from engagement with the rest of the world.
"This is not a time to retreat. This is not a time to pull back," he said.
Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said Russian aggression in Ukraine was the most serious crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
"We face a new paradigm in Europe," he said at the event. "Over the long term, NATO must adapt to Russia's new model of using force to achieve its state objectives."
Other attendees included Retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., former Secretary of State Retired Gen. Colin Powell, and European Commission President H.E. Jose Manuel Barroso.
Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr., who was not present, received the Distinguished Military Leadership Award.