President Obama spoke at the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague where he and the European Union showed an alliance with each other and Ukraine against Russia.
Obama said Russia’s actions will not drive apart the US and EU. He also hopes trade deals will help lessen Europe’s dependency on Russian energy. On March 8, ambassadors from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and asked the US to increase natural gas exports to Europe. Russia supplies so much energy to Europe the West feared nations would not sanction Moscow because of energy fears.
Obama said coordination between the U.S. and Europe on economic sanctions against Russia has been excellent and warned that if Russia continues on its current course, “the isolation will deepen.”
The leaders also expressed confidence they would complete a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that seeks to remove trade barriers between the 28-nation bloc and the U.S. Obama noted the deal arrangement would have a Ukraine connection because it could provide a counterweight to Russian energy leverage in Europe.
On March 16, Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russia accepted the vote and President Obama finally responded with harsh sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and his preferred Russian bank. Despite the energy fears, the EU responded with similar sanctions.
The White House released a statement that reaffirmed their alliance with Ukraine and claimed it will help the country defend their sovereignty. The US told Ukraine they will continue to help them with support of their Neutron Source Facility, which “provides Ukraine with new research capabilities and the ability to produce industrial and medical isotopes for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.”