President Obama said Russian President Vladimir may have "additional plans" in Ukraine and called on him to pull back his troops stationed along the border in an interview that aired Friday.
"It's well known and well acknowledged that you've seen a range of troops massing along that border under the guise of military exercises. But these are not what Russia would normally be doing. And, you know, it may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine or it may be that they've got additional plans,” Obama said in the interview on “CBS This Morning.”
Russia must “de-escalate” and “move back those troops to begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government,” Obama said.
“CBS Evening News” host Scott Pelley interviewed Obama during the third leg of his overseas trip in Rome on Thursday.
During his first stop in the Netherlands, Obama said on Tuesday that the United States is concerned Russia might encroach on Eastern Europe beyond Crimea.
Obama said Putin has demonstrated “a deeply held grievance” about what he thinks the Soviet Union lost.
“You would have thought that after a couple of decades that there'd be an awareness on the part of any Russian leader that the path forward is not to revert back to the kinds of practices that, you know, were so prevalent during the Cold War, but in fact, to move forward with further integration with the world economy and to be a responsible international citizen,” he said.
Putin may be “misreading the West,” said Obama, who added that Putin is “certainly misreading American foreign policy.”
Obama acknowledged Russia has influence over other countries “because of trade and traditional and language and heritage.” But, he said there’s a difference between that and sending in troops.
Meanwhile, Congress overwhelmingly voted for $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia on Thursday.
The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday also adopted a measure that called the referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea invalid.