GO
Loading...

Obama, Merkel will consider more Russian sanctions

The United States is not currently planning any military intervention in Ukraine, President Barack Obama said Thursday. However, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that "it will be necessary for the United States and the European Union to consider additional sanctions on Russia," according to a White House statement issued Thursday evening.

"The two leaders also reiterated their determination to continue to work for a diplomatic solution to the crisis," the statement says.

Obama—who addressed the nation prior to a meeting with his national security team—had earlier announced that he will be meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko next month, at which point he looks "forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people."

Obama hinted that there may be more sanctions coming against Russia.

"My expectation is that we will take additional steps primarily because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to actually try to resolve this in a diplomatic fashion," he said.

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House Aug. 28, 2014.
Reuters
President Barack Obama speaking at the White House Aug. 28, 2014.

The president underscored, however, that "we are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem."

In a statement released just before the president's speech, senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham demanded "real sectoral sanctions" against Russia, and greater support to Ukraine.

"[An invasion of Ukraine] runs completely contrary to the civilized world that America and our partners have sought to build since World War II," the senators said. "If we will not or cannot defend our own values now, as well as friends who share them, the future will be dark and dangerous indeed, not just for Ukraine but for us too."

Read MoreRussia has 'well over 1,000 troops' in Ukraine, Nato warns

Earlier Thursday, NATO warned that Russia has moved "well over 1,000 troops" into Ukraine, releasing photos purporting to show troop movement in the region.

Kiev has warned for weeks that Russian troops were operating in its territory, and made fresh claims of a major incursion at a new location along the border Wednesday.

"What is happening now is an assault on world order. Russia is trying to drag Ukraine and the rest of the world into a war, a full-scale war that will allow it to deconstruct the existing order," Ukrainian Ambassador-at-Large Dmytro Kuleba told CNBC on Thursday.

Read MoreRussia-Ukraine: Wall Street bets on limited impact

The president also addressed the crisis in Iraq, reaffirming that the United States' primary goal is to protect its personnel, and to only help humanitarian situations when the situation has "very modest risk."

As for now, Obama said, "we don't have a strategy yet" to address the Islamic State combatants as a whole.

Obama did, however, emphasize that the White House will have to develop a regional strategy to ultimately address the threat of the Islamic State operating in Iraq and Syria. This will include coordination with the other states in the region, particularly regarding any solutions in Syria, he added.

"The issue, with respect to Syria, is not simply a military issue, it's also a political issue," Obama said, adding later that the actions of the Islamic State "should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia, to everybody."

—By CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld

Contact Politics

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.
    › Learn More