Obama: Putin handling of Ukraine crisis hurts Russia's interests

by Reuters
Friday, 1 August 2014 19:37 GMT

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday defended U.S. efforts to pressure Russia to withdraw support from Ukrainian separatists, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin was defying logic by ignoring the damage Western sanctions had inflicted on Russia's economy.

"We have done everything we can to support the Ukrainian government and to deter Russia from moving further into Ukraine," Obama said at a news conference. "But short of going to war, there are going to be some constraints in terms of what we can do if President Putin and Russia are ignoring what should be their long-term interests."

"Objectively speaking, President Putin should want to resolve this diplomatically, to get these sanctions lifted, get their economy growing again," he said. "But sometimes people don't always act rationally."

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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