- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

President Obama on Wednesday took direct aim at Russia and said the “dark tactics” employed by Moscow against Ukraine will not stand in the 21st century.

Speaking at a Warsaw celebration marking 25 years of Polish democracy, the president said each nation across Europe must be able to chart its own path forward and never again come under the heavy hand of a nation such as Russia.

“We stand together because we believe that people and nations have the right to determine their own destiny — that includes the people of Ukraine,” Mr. Obama said, speaking from behind protective glass in Warsaw’s Royal Castle Square.


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“Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia,” he continued. “Because after investing so much blood and treasure to bring Europe together, we refuse to allow the dark tactics of the 20th century to define the 21st.”

Prior to the celebration, Mr. Obama met with Ukrainian President-Elect Petro Poroshenko and offered Ukraine another $5 million in assistance to fend off Russian aggression.

The money will help provide Ukraine’s military with night-vision goggles, body armor and other items desperately needed as it clashes with pro-Russian insurgents in eastern parts of Ukraine.

Mr. Obama took direct shots at those insurgent during his Warsaw address, calling on Russia to stop fomenting violence and unrest in Donetsk and other cities in eastern Ukraine.

“Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small, or impose their will at the barrel of a gun or with masked men taking over buildings,” the president said. “And the stroke of a pen can never legitimize the theft of a neighbor’s land. So we will never accept Russia’s occupation of Crimea or its violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Crimea voted earlier this year to secede from Ukraine, but the U.S. and its European allies do not recognize the vote.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama and newly resurgent G7 will meet Wednesday night in Brussels. The meeting — to include the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan — was originally scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, and was to include Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. and its allies canceled the gathering as punishment for Russian meddling in Ukraine, though Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin still will come face to face at a D-Day anniversary ceremony later this week.

Wire-service material was used in this report.