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“Russia Cannot Hope to Match Global Might of America, Says Barack Obama in Warning to Vladimir Putin”
March 26th, 2014

The US President, Barack Obama, has issued a warning to Russia’s Vladimir Putin to keep his troops out of Ukraine or face even tougher sanctions, calling Russia a “regional power” which would struggle to compete with America’s global influence.

So far, Washington and the European Union (EU) have responded to President Putin’s annexation of Crimea this month with sanctions on dozens of individuals, most of them directly linked to Mr Putin’s actions in Crimea after his ally Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by protesters in Kiev.

Those diplomatic moves have so far had little effect in Moscow, and Western leaders have faced criticism that  they are not being tough enough in the face of a more muscular Russia.

Mr Obama appeared to meet such criticism by making clear that the US is “the most powerful nation in the world” and one that other countries looked to in order to take the lead on global crises such as the conflict in Syria. Asked at a nuclear-security conference in The Hague whether Russia was now Washington’s top geopolitical foe, he replied: “America’s got a whole lot of challenges.” But Russia, he added, “is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbours, not out of strength but out of weakness. We [the US] have considerable influence on our neighbours. We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong co-operative relationship with them.”

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