Former President Barack Obama issued a message of support for President Joe Biden on Thursday, urging Americans to unite behind economic sanctions against Russia.
“Every American, regardless of party, should support President Biden’s efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia,” Obama said in a statement sent to reporters, defending Biden’s sanctions as a serious attempt to put “a real price on Russia’s autocratic elites.”
Obama’s statement of support for Biden follows his own failure to stop Putin from annexing Crimea in 2014 when he was president.
The former president also urged Americans to embrace any economic pain that they would suffer as a result of sanctions on Russia.
“There may be some economic consequences to such sanctions, given Russia’s significant role in world energy markets,” Obama wrote. “But that’s a price we should be willing to pay to take a stand on the side of freedom.”
The former president urged Americans to think globally and act to defend freedom for not only Ukrainians but for people around the world.
“The consequences of Russia’s reckless actions extend beyond Ukraine’s borders,” he said.
Obama warned of the “forces of division and authoritarianism” that were taking root around the world and said Putin’s “brazen attack” should be confronted.
“This illegal invasion in the heart of Europe also threatens the foundation of the international order and security,” he wrote.
Obama asserted that every individual faced a choice between allowing “autocrats” to rule or allowing “free people” to choose to govern themselves with democracy.
“People of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia’s actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people,” he said.