Obama calls on ‘people of conscience’ to condemn Russia
Former President Obama on Thursday slammed Russia’s “brazen attack” on Ukraine as a violation of international law and the “basic principles of human decency.”
“Russia did so not because Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, but because the people of Ukraine chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy,” Obama said.
“For exercising rights that should be available to all people and nations, Ukrainians now face a brutal onslaught that is killing innocents and displacing untold numbers of men, women and children.”
Obama’s remarks come during the first day of what Russian President Vladimir Putin termed a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The former president added that the consequences of Russia’s “illegal” and “reckless actions” will extend beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Obama said that Russia’s incursion into “the heart of Europe” also threatens the foundation of the international order and security.
“For some time now, we have seen the forces of division and authoritarianism make headway around the world, mounting an assault on the ideals of democracy, rule of law, equality, individual liberty, freedom of expression and worship, and self-determination. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows where these dangerous trends can lead — and why they cannot be left unchallenged,” he said.
Additionally, Obama said “people of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly” condemn Russia’s actions and offer their support for the Ukrainian people.
The former president acknowledged there may be some economic consequences to imposing sanctions on Russia given the country’s significant role in world energy markets.
However, according to Obama, “that’s a price we should be willing to pay to take a stand on the side of freedom.”
“For over the long term, we all face a choice, between a world in which might makes right and autocrats are free to impose their will through force, or a world in which free people everywhere have the power to determine their own future.”
He added that he and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, “will be praying for the courageous people of Ukraine, for Russian citizens who have bravely declared their opposition to these attacks, and for all those who will bear the cost of a senseless war.”
Obama released his statement shortly after President Biden said the U.S. would sanction major Russian banks and impose export controls on Russia to curtail Russian high-tech imports as part of a coordinated effort with allies to penalize the Kremlin for its military attack against Ukraine.