Washington: Expressing concern over the Russia`s deployment of troops along its border with Ukraine, the White House has said that President Barack Obama wants the current Ukrainian crisis to be resolved diplomatically.
"The US would like to see this crisis resolved diplomatically, but we are concerned about the ongoing troop buildup on the Russian side of the border, about Russia`s continuing support for the separatists, and that Russian forces appear to continue shelling Ukrainian positions from inside Russia," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.
Obama in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had conveyed the same message.
"It`s important to note that we are concerned about Russian statements indicating that they may send what they described as "peacekeepers" to help secure the crash site," Earnest said.
He alleged that Russia had a track record of abusing the term "peacekeeping" as a cover for unlawful military intervention and occupation.
"Given its unlawful attempted annexation of Crimea, it is deeply troubling to hear any discussion of Russian "peacekeepers" being sent to Ukrainian territory," he said.
He said these statements were destabilising and unhelpful and Russia should anticipate that any such move would be met with condemnation and result in further economic cost and political isolation.
Obama is concerned about the buildup of Russian troops on the border, he said.
"Those forces are serving to facilitate the transfer of arms, materiel, and fighters across the border, as well as provide training to separatists. The buildup of these forces and the exercises they are supposedly there to support also represent Russian attempts to intimidate Ukraine," he said.
He said the tough American sanctions on Russia were mainly because of its destabilising acts in Ukraine and had nothing to do with the Edward Snowden, who has been given three years of Russian residential permit in the country.
"It is important for people to understand, and I think this has been made crystal clear to Vladimir Putin that the sanctions are related to the destabilising actions that Russia has taken in Ukraine and along the border," he said.
"That includes the illegal annexation of Crimea, the deployment of some troops in a threatening way along the Russia-Ukraine border. It also includes the evidence that we`ve seen of attacks being launched from the Russian side of the border against Ukrainian military targets," he said.
"We`ve also seen the transfer of heavy weapons from the Russian side across the border into Ukraine and into the hands of Russian- backed separatists. All of those actions are what led to the sanctions regime that`s been put in place by the US and our allies and partners all around the globe," he said.