Clinton: Russia needs wider sanctions

 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday night sanctions against Russia need to be "widened and tightened" to prevent the situation in Ukraine from escalating. 

According to The Associated Press, Clinton told an audience at the University of Connecticut that Russia would pay a price for its actions, but the situation should be resolved as peacefully as possible. 

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"I think Russia will pay a big price for this," Clinton said. "But that is an end point that we've got to get to as peacefully as possible without seeing the total disintegration of Ukraine as a country with territorial integrity and opportunity to have the relationship it wants with the West."

President Obama, speaking in Japan, said new sanctions against Russia are "teed up" as pro-Russia separatists have taken over and continued to occupy government buildings for the past few weeks. The administration has also accused Russia of massing troops along the eastern border. 

Obama said Russia "has days" to renounce the action of the pro-Russian protesters there. 

Clinton, who is seen a possible presidential candidate in 2016, said Russia could be a much more successful country if not for President Vladimir Putin's actions.

"I think the outcome for him and Russia will not be good, which is deeply unfortunate," she said. "Russia should be a much more dynamic and much more successful country and could be if Putin weren't trying to turn the clock back to the Soviet Union days."

Clinton has previously said Putin will go as far as he can if he is not contained, arguing he wouldn't be satisfied with the annexation of Crimea earlier this year. She has said Russia's pretext for invading Crimea in order to protect ethnic Russians was similar to arguments made by Germany in World War II.

During the talk, she also reportedly criticized the state of the media, saying a lot of journalism has become entertainment rather than fact-based. She said she sees an opening for more explanatory journalism. 

"I think that it’s with professional tweaking and creativity we could address some of the issues we know are plaguing journalism today," she said. 

Earlier Wednesday, at a separate conference, Clinton reiterated that the deadly attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 had been her biggest regret as secretary of State.