WASHINGTON — Russian President Vladimir Putin embarrassed American President Barack Obama over the current crisis in Ukraine, where suspected Russian troops have occupied the Crimean peninsula.
Reuters reported that Obama and Putin spoke on the phone for an hour, but Putin issued a statement that showed Russia will not back down from its current position to protect native Russian speakers in Crimea.
A part of the statement read, “Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law.”
According to Ukrainian border guards, Russia had sent about 19,000 additional troops into Crimea. Russia had 11,000 permanent soldiers stationed in the Crimean naval port of Sevastapol until the recent surge in troop numbers.
These soldiers do not have any identifying national insignia, but are strongly suspected to be Russian troops. Putin claimed that they are not under his command, which the West (the U.S. and the European Union) ridiculed.
The current crisis erupted when pro-West protests in Ukraine led to the ouster of pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovich. Now, Ukraine is putting their troops on alert as other Russian troop movements and drills are being conducted close to other parts of Ukraine. It seems to many that Putin and Russia sent troops into Crimea as retribution.