Transcript for World Powers Kick Russia Out of G8
This is a special group. I'm Michelle president New York this is an ABC news digital especially in Portland President Obama -- but another level. A joint press conference in. With Dutch prime minister Margaret. And the baby was The Hague the Netherlands where members of the G-7 that's the G-8 minus Russia having gathered -- visually loss or Nuclear Security Summit sponsors reckless. Friendly despite still dangerous conditions. And the American Red Cross -- -- multiple shelters and the people Washington State have been quick to help and comfort of fellow citizens. I just spoke to governor insulate. Who swiftly declared a state of emergency -- -- that emergency declaration make sure. He's got all the resources that he needs my administration. Is in contact -- them on an ongoing basis -- mob and the Army Corps of Engineers also been on site. To offer their assistance and expertise. So I would just ask. All Americans to. Send their thoughts and prayers to Washington State and the community of also orange the families and friends of those who are continue to be missing we hope for the best but. We recognized as -- tough situation. Now -- for our work here of -- hate. I wanna just repeat. The extraordinary work of mark. Has done in helping to organize this. Came Willem Alexander and to the people of the Netherlands. Your hospitality has been remarkable the organization has been flawless. To all the people who were involved in putting this together including those who were putting up with the traffic but I cost I want to say thank you. I'm told there's a Dutch word that captures. The spirit which doesn't translate exactly in the English but let me. Say that my first visit to the -- -- has been Trulia. -- -- You know I convened the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington for years ago because I believed that we need a serious and sustained global effort. To deal with a one of the greatest threats to international security and that's the Specter. Nuclear terrorist. Would make further progress at our second summit in Seoul and under. Your prime minister restored ship we've built on that progress here. In keeping with the spare these summits this was not about they commitments it was about taking tangible and concrete steps. To secure more the world's nuclear material so it never falls in the hands of terrorists and that's what we've done. In particular I want to commend -- Belgium and Italy for completing the removal of their excess supplies of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. So that those supplies can be eliminated. In a major commitment Japan announced that it will work with the United States to eliminate hundreds of fewer grams. Of weapons usable nuclear material from one of their experimental reactors that's enough for a dozen. For dozens of nuclear weapons. Dozens of other nations -- agreed to take specific steps towards improving nuclear security in their own countries and the support. Our global efforts some of pledged to convert their research reactors to -- low enriched uranium which cannot be used to make a bomb. We've set new goals for implementing our nuclear security measures including -- more information. To show the world living up to our commitments. I've made it clear that the United States will continue to do our part as well. Our nuclear regulator will develop new guidelines to strengthen cyber security. And our nuclear power plants and we pledge to. Pursue the production -- -- medical isotope used to treat illnesses like cancer without relying on. Weapons usable material. We're also gonna work -- our partners around the world to install more radiation detective detection equipment at ports and transit sites in order to combat. Nuclear smuggling. And all of this builds on. Our previous efforts. Twelve conference and two dozen nuclear facilities around the world have now rid themselves entirely of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Dozens of nations have boosted security -- their nuclear storage sites were built their own counter smuggling teams or created new senators to improve. Nuclear security and training. The international. Atomic energy agency -- the IAEA. Is now stronger and more countries have ratified the -- and international partnerships at the heart of our efforts so. We've seen a fundamental shift in our approach to nuclear secured. But as mark indicated we still have a lot more work to do to fulfill. The ambitious goals we set four years ago. To fully secure all nuclear and radiological material civilian and military so that he can no longer pose a risk to any of our citizens. I believe this is essential to the security of the entire world and given the catastrophic. -- consequence -- -- even a single attack we cannot be complacent. I'll close by reminding everyone that -- -- achievements of our first summit in 2010 was Ukraine's decision. To remove all its highly enriched uranium from its nuclear fuel sites. I had that not happened. Those dangerous nuclear materials would still be there are now. And the difficult situation we're doing -- -- Ukraine today would involve yet another level of concern. So -- -- vivid reminder that the more of this material we could secure the safer all of our countries will be. We've made progress. We've got more to do. We're going to continue our work and I look forward to hosting. The fourth Nuclear Security Summit in the United States in two years so thank you were getting marked them all your team as well as people the Netherlands for the substance of. Thank you Mr. President will go straight to the questions now and the first question will be. Julie -- associate press. Thank you Mr. President. Even criticized during in this dispute with Russia and it's not understanding president Putin's motivations as recently as last month UN others near administration said. You've got who was reflect -- or -- his incursion into Crimea. Did you miss -- Putin's intention then what do you think his motivations are now and if I could just quickly ask on an -- When you spoke about the NSA reviewing January you said you weren't sold on the option of having phone companies hold meta data and you thought it raise additional privacy concerns what has changed for you on that matter -- that time and -- do you think congress will pass legislation are seeking. And mr. prime minister there are leaders in Europe who have concerns about the sector -- the president has proposed on Russia's economy. Do you think any of those leaders have been have had their concerns alleviated during their talks with the president over the past few days think you. Our -- -- and remember always. What would respect president Putin's motivations -- but there's been a lot of speculation -- less interested and motivation and more interested in. The facts. And the principles -- not only the United States but. The entire international community or are looking to uphold. I don't think that any of us. Been under any illusion that. You know Russia has been very interested in controlling what happens to -- -- that's not new that's been the case for years now. That's been the case dating back to normal Orange Revolution. But what we have -- consistently throughout this process is that. It is up to the Ukrainian people to make their own decisions about. How they organize themselves. And who. They interact with. And it's always been our belief that. Ukraine is gonna have a relationship to -- there is a strong. Historical bond between the two countries. But that that does not justify Russia encroaching on Ukraine's. Territorial integrity or sovereignty. That's exactly what's happened. And I said very early on that sugar -- should do so. There would be consequences. And working -- our European partners and our international partners we have put in place. Sanctions that have already had some impact on the Russian economy. Now moving forward. Here we have this and -- be very clear about this we're not recognizing. What has happened in -- the notion that. A referendum. Sloppily organized over the course of two weeks. Would somehow. Justified. The breaking off for premier and the annexation by Russian. That somehow that would be a -- process I think the overwhelming majority of the world rejects. But we are also concerned about further encroachment by Russia in -- Ukraine. So what I announced. And what the European council -- was that we were consulting and putting in place. The framework of the architecture for additional sanctions. Additional costs. Shouldn't Russia take this next step. Well we also served and will continue to say is that there is another path available to Russia. -- Ukrainian government has said it is prepared to negotiate with the Russian. That. It is prepared. To recognize its international obligations. And the international community has been supportive of a diplomatic process. That would allow. The escalation of tensions. A moving back. Russian troops. From Ukraine's borders. And rapidly organized elections that allow the Ukrainian people to choose their leadership. And my expectation is is that if the Ukrainian people are allowed to make their own decisions. Their decision will be that they want to have a relationship with Europe and they -- -- have a relationship with Russia. And that this is not a zero -- game. And I think that. From Israel turn your -- and the current government has shown remarkable restraint. And are prepared to go down that diplomatic track it is now up to Russia. To act responsibly and show itself. To be once again willing to abide by. International rules and international norms. And -- -- do so I think that there can be a better outcome. If it fails to do so there will be additional cost. And those will have some disruptive effects of the global economy but -- have the greatest impact on Russia. So I figure I will be a bad choice for President Putin to make but ultimately. His the president of -- and and he's someone who's going to be making that decision. He just has to understand that there's choice to be made it. With respect he even though this was -- to remark I just -- address this issue of sexual sectoral sanctions. So far what we've done is we put in place sanctions that impact individuals. Restricts -- being issued to them. Freezes their assets. We have identified one bank in particular in Russia that. Was well known to have to be. The bank of choice for. Many of the. Persons who support and facilitate. Russian officials from carrying out some of these activities. But what we've held off. On are more broad based sanctions that would impacted tire sectors of the Russian economy. It is not just been my suggestion but it has also been the European council's suggestion. That should Russia. Go further. Such sex -- Toro. Sanctions would be appropriate. And that would include areas potentially. Like energy or finance or arms sales. Portrait. That exists between Europe and the United States and Russia. And what we're doing now is at a very technical level examining. The impact. Each of these sanctions. Some. Particular sanctions. Would hurt some countries more than others. But all of us recognize that we have to stand up for a core principle. That lies at the heart of the international order and that facilitated. European Union and incredible. Prosperity and peace that Europe is in Georgia now for decades. And so on although it could cause some disruptions to each of our economies or certain industries. What I've been encouraged by. Is that. The firmness. And the willingness on the part of all countries two to look at. Ways in which they can participate. In in this process. Our preference throughout will be to resolve this diplomatically but I think we're prepared as we -- shown. To take the next step if the situation gets worse. Finally on your -- effort it's very important that. We spend. As much effort. On bolstering. The economy -- inside of Ukraine and making sure that the elections. Received an orderly fashion and so my hope is that the IMF. Is able to complete it package for Ukraine rapidly to stabilize their finances their economy. DOS -- father. International organizations are sending in observers monitors. And we're providing technical assistance to make sure that the elections are free and fair. The sooner those elections take place the sooner the economy is stabilized the better. Positions the Ukrainian people will be in terms management what is -- very challenging situation. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Several months ago that. I was -- signing. Our various agencies and the -- -- intelligence community to bring me new options. With respect the telephone database -- way. They -- presented me now with an option that I think -- workable. And addresses the two core concerns the people -- number one the idea of government storing. Ball data general. This ensures that. The government is not in possession. That all data I want to emphasize once again that some of the danger is that. People hypothesize -- in the -- to data. There were clear safeguards against but I recognize the people concerned about what might happen in the future would baffle -- This. Proposal that's been presented to me would eliminate. That concern. The secretary. The people were concerned about is making sure that. Not only as a judge overseeing the overall program but also. That the judges looking at each individual inquiry that's made into a database. And that's. New plan that's been presented to -- does that. So overall I'm confident that it allows us to do what is necessary in order to be aware of the -- of the terrorist attack but does so in a way that addresses some of the concerns. The people have raised and I'm looking forward to working with congress. To make sure that it. We go ahead and pass the enabling legislation quickly. So that we can get on with the business. Effect of law enforcement. Home OK let me make it absolutely clear -- European Union and US. And just today we shall alignments within the G-7 -- -- working very closely together. And I can fully support -- -- -- -- -- just gave -- give them on the question you ops. They beckon at -- thing which is that I'm I'm do there the defected to the Russian economy is very much gas and oil dependence. Stands. That means -- economic sanctions if -- will be necessary. And we are not there yet. If economic sanctions will be necessary because there's conflict -- Escalate to a next stage that it is virtually happened these sanctions -- -- Russia very -- And -- -- you can never guarantee debts to people in Europe and Canada in the US would not be hurt. But options did you make sure that -- bill. These -- any sanctions such a -- that they will. Have maximum impact on the Russian economy and not on the European the Canadian Japanese. Or the American economy. That is already but -- worked very closely together. And he seek social alignment on the future. Thank -- Our next question who will hold -- nuclear. Obama on Ukraine. Reportedly there are about 30000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. What guarantees can you give to the people -- -- in Ukraine to people in the Baltic States. -- other countries. That they will not be next when it comes to the Russian politics of annexation and with regard to -- also. Is this a done deal is there any doubt in the minds that's Putin will return -- -- out. To where it belongs according to the west. Or is this diplomatic show of force base -- just to present another land grab someone else. On the second question first on the issue. Premier. It's not a done deal in the sense that the international community by and large is not recognizing the annexation of -- Obviously the facts are on the ground are that the Russian military. Controls Crimea. There are. A number of individuals inside of crime here that are supportive of that process. There's no expectation that there will be -- this lodged by force. And so what we can bring to bear our. The legal arguments the diplomatic arguments the political pressure economic sanctions that are in place. To try to make sure that there's a cost of that process. But. -- could be. Dishonest to suggest that there is a simple solution to. Resolving. What is -- taken place in Crimea. Although. Your history has a funny way of moving and twists and turns and not just some straight line so. You know. How the situation in crime evolves in part depends on making sure that the international community. Stays unified. In. Indicating that this was an illegal action. On the part of Russia. Would respectively. Russian troops -- are all along the border Ukraine and the moment. Right now there are Russian missile. And if they stay on Russian soul. And we. We oppose. What appears to be an effort and intimidation. But. Russia has a right legally to -- Have its troops. On its own soil. I don't think it's a done deal -- I think that Russia still making a series of calculations. And again. Those calculations. Will be impacted in part by how unified the United States and Europe are. And the international -- years insane to Russia but this is not. How in the 21 century -- we resolve disputes. I think it's particularly important for all of us to. This -- this notion that somehow. Russian speakers or Russian nationals inside of Ukraine are threatened and that somehow that would justify. Russian action there has been no evidence. That. Russian speakers have been in any way. Threatened. If anything what we've seen -- provocative tours. Who have created. You know scuffles -- -- of Ukraine. But. And when I hear analogies for example to Kosovo. Where you had thousands of people who were being slaughtered. By their government. It's a comparison that makes absolutely no sense and I think it's important for everybody to be clear. And -- strip away some of the possible excuses. Four potential Russian action. That would respect to the broader issue of the states that are bordering rush and what assurances do they have. About future. Land grabs -- -- put it. Obviously. You know some of those countries are NATO countries and as NATO allies we believe that the cornerstone of our security is. Making sure that all of us including the United States -- -- by article five. And the notion of collective defense. And you what we are now doing is organizing. Even more intensively. To make sure that. We have contingency plans and that every one of our NATO allies has assurances. That we will act in their defense. Against any threats that's. What NATO is all about and that's been the cornerstone of a piece. In the trans Atlantic region. Now four. Several generations. So we will uphold that. And there will be a series of -- consultations. In NATO minister it was going to be coming up. In which we further develop and deepen of those plans but I have not seen. Any NATO members who have not expressed. A firm determination. With respect to NATO members now outs those who -- those countries' border border countries that are outside of -- -- what we can do is what we're doing what Ukraine which is trying to make sure that they are sufficient international pressure. And the spotlight shine on. On the situation some these countries and that were also doing everything we can to bolster their economies. Make sure that. Through various diplomatic and economic initiatives that they feel supported. And that they know that we stand by -- border comes -- A potential military response. -- of that is defined by NATO membership that's what -- is about. -- -- From ABC news. Mr. President thank you in China and Syria and Egypt and now in Russia we've seen. You make strong statements issue warnings that have been ignored are you concerned. That America's influence in the world -- influence in the world is on the decline. And in the light of recent. Developments. Do you think Mitt Romney had a point when he said it's Russia is America's biggest. Geo political -- if not Russia who. And mr. prime minister. Do you think these -- sanctions will change Vladimir Putin's calculation to cause him to back down and do you see -- -- Where do you see a Russian red line. Where if they go any further to -- in the eastern Ukraine and Moldova. Where options beyond sanctions have to be concerned. Thank -- Well Jonathan. I think. If the premise of the question is that. Whenever the United States objects to an action. And other countries don't immediately do exactly what we want. That that's been the norm that would pretty much erased most of twentieth century history. I think that. There's a distinction between us being very clear about what we think. Is that an appropriate action what we stand for what principles we believe in. -- -- what is I -- implied in the question that we should engage in some sort of military action to prevent something. You know the truth the matter is is that. The world's always been -- And what the United States. Has consistently been able to do and we continue to be able to do is to mobilize the international community around a set of principles and norms. And where. Our own. Self defense may not be involved. We may not act militarily that does not mean that we don't steadily push against. Those forces that would violate those principles and ideals that we care about. So. Yes you're right. Syria. The Syrian civil -- not solved. And yet Syria's never been more isolated. With -- respect to. The situation Ukraine. We have not gone to war with Russia. Islanders are significant precedent to that in the past. That does not mean that. Russia is not isolated fact Russia's far more isolated in this instance than the was five years ago would respect Jordan more isolated than it was a certainly during most of twentieth century when it was part of the Soviet Union. That the point is that. There are always going to be bad things that happened around the world. And the United States us. Most powerful nation in the in the world understandably. Is looked to for solutions to those problems and what we have to make sure we're doing our. That we are putting all elements of our power. Behind finding solutions working with our international partners. Standing up for those principles and ideals and -- clear way. There -- going to be moments where. Military action as appropriate. They're going to be some times where. That's not in the interests national security interest the United States or somewhere partners. But that doesn't mean that we're not gonna continue to make the effort or speak clearly about what we think is right and wrong and that's what we've done. -- respect to mr. Romney's. Assertion that Russia's number are our number one geopolitical followed the truth of the matter is that. -- America's got a whole lot of challenges. -- Is. A regional power. That is threatening some of its immediate neighbors. Not on the strength but out of weakness. -- Ukraine. Has been a country in which Russia had enormous influence. For doctors since the breakup of the Soviet here. And no we have considerable influence on our neighbors we generally don't need to invade them in order to. Have a strong cooperative relationship work. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go win militarily and laid bare. These violations of international law. Indicates. Less influence not more. And -- so my response then. Continues to do. What I believe today which is Russia's actions are a problem. They don't -- the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned. When it comes to our security. With the prospect. A nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. Which is part of the reason why. The United States showing its continued. International leadership. Has organized. A form over the last several years that's been able to help eliminate. That threat and a consistent way. There is no geopolitical conflicts which can be sold without the United States. And therefore. Time. -- -- defects that's president Obama's administration. Is active in -- -- -- Throughout Syria. The Middle East peace process and so many other questions of rules take initiatives. Secure that carries taking now in the Middle East these posts. I was in December and these are spoke with who's -- your leaders most of Israel and the Palestinians their territories. They're extremely. Grateful for the fact that America is providing the leadership this difficult issue can be solved overnight. There's no magic magic mountains which can handle this. They're focused -- makes -- I found out I spoke was present -- I'm in the forward to World Economic Forum in Jenin where. We have known into the McCourt effect of I was able first burst leader in over. Thirteen fourteen years was focused and earning earning leader president -- was possible because of the interim accords and it seems that it is holding. America provides leadership. Us or our New York lost -- Obama's role in all these major issues and that is necessary because. United States it's illegal to free world and -- -- part of leadership and he's doing them on their Christian boxer. President Putin I cannot. To be difficult to two executive -- what's happening in the senior leadership in Moscow and Russia -- moment. But as a -- earlier a highly I'm diversified economy back -- -- Russian economy. Which is so much oral and gas dependence which has not invested in infrastructure intestinal area out of its economy. It will be -- -- -- -- that's in the financial sector. Or in reference or in trades. Or indeed an energy. -- -- -- potential sanctions. -- -- their -- of us have earlier we have to design and is situated able particularly hits -- and not Europe the US Canada or Japan. That is what you're working on that we hope we don't need. And enrollment deadlines I cannot envisage this conflict ending up in the military court I don't think there's likely -- don't think anybody wants to. And at the same time -- totally agree with the president Obama's announcer on article five. When this conflict will be taken to the borders of most of NATO countries but luckily that is at this moment. Not a case. Questions for -- could -- -- time period. You met a lot of leaders and many were angry about the -- -- -- story. Have to fix the relationships. With these students. And the second question men are shocked by the extent. Of which and the state collects profit d'etat. Today we're in the New York Times that you've done to -- the systematic collection of state health Americans. But can you address the concerns of the Dutch and -- -- the world about the privacy. Well. First of all. We have had a consistent. Unbreakable bond between. The leaders of Europe over the last several decades and it's across many dimensions economic military. Counterterrorism. Cultural. And so. Any one issue can be an irritant in the relationship between the countries but. Doesn't define those relationship and that continues to be the case that has been the case throughout the last couple years. As I served in a speech that I gave earlier this year. The United States. Is very proud of its record of working we -- Countries around the world to prevent terrorism or nuclear proliferation or human trafficking -- whole host of issues that all of us. I think would be concerned about. Intelligence plays a critical role in that process. What we've seen is that as technology has evolved. The guidelines. And structures. That constrain that -- -- intelligence agencies operated. Not kept pace with these advances technology. And although. -- you know. Having. Examined over the last. Over the last year year and a half. -- what's been done. I'm confident that everybody in our intelligence agencies operates in the best of intentions and is not. Snooping into the privacy of ordinary. Dutch German French or American citizens. What is true is that there is a danger because of these new technologies that at some point it could be abused. And that's why initiated a broad based review of what we could do. There a couple of things are -- there on precedent. In my speech I announced that for the first time. Under my direction. That we are going to treat the privacy concerns non US persons. As seriously as we are the constraints. That already exist by -- on US persons. We're doing that not because we're bound by international law but because ultimately it's the right thing to do. With respect to. Some -- aspects of data collection. What I've been very clear about his is that there has to be a narrow purpose to not a broad based. Purpose but it's rather based on a specific concern around. Terrorism or counter proliferation or. Human trafficking or something that. I think all of us would say. Has to be. And so what -- tried to do then is to make sure the my intelligence teams are. Consulting very closely at each stage -- their counterparts. In other nations so that there's greater transparency in terms of what exactly we're doing what we're not doing. Some of the -- reporting. Here in Europe as well organized it's frankly has been. Pretty sensationalized. I think the -- is. About our privacy in this age of the Internet and big data are justified. I think the actual facts. People would have an assurance of that if you are just. The ordinary citizen. In any of these countries that your privacy in fact is not being invaded. But I recognize there because of these revelations. That there's a process that's taking place where we have to win back the trust not just of governments. For more importantly of ordinary citizens and that's are gonna happen over night. Because I think that there's a tendency. -- be skeptical of government and to. Be skeptical in particular. US intelligence services. And so it's going to be necessary for us this step we took. There was announced today. I think -- -- -- example of us slowly systematically. Putting in more checks balances legal processes. The good news there is. That I'm very confident that it can be achieved. And I'm also confident that the core values. That America has always believed. In terms of privacy. Rule of law. Individual rights. That. That has guided. You know the United States for for many years and will continue to -- -- some of the future. Like you very much -- but it can thank you again. OK ladies and gentlemen that both. For instance think -- him. And President Obama there -- Dutch prime minister mark -- -- we're joined now from Washington by ABC news political director. Rick Klein Rick he took in the -- made a few jokes but the banner behind -- -- Nuclear Security Summit might as well also been. The Russian Ukraine summit give me an idea how the president -- there. He took a hard swing at -- prudent response to our colleague Jonathan -- question about whether. Mitt Romney was right when he said that Russia was in everyone's -- at geo strategic -- He said no he was not right because look he says Vladimir Putin's Russia we're talking about a regional power and more of a swipe he goes on to say. That we have lots of friends that we have influence over we don't have to go and invade them that was provocative language startling language and the president. As he's trying to find the best diplomatic way. To deal with the crisis in Ukraine and to try to send a message to Vladimir Putin that. Further moves like that will be unacceptable that was really something to behold because I had never heard such such stark language used it -- brush back the Russian president's. Rick -- want to stick with you real quickly do you think the president seemed more bold and more confident today taking that stand. I think in that sense yes but I think -- the -- -- a deeper into what he said he acknowledges that the world is a complicated place and in US saying something's. Is not always enough to get any kind of desired outcome and clearly he is still trying to find the right solution to make sure. And that's that his threats in the past holed up and that you don't see further -- that's the biggest concern right now -- United States and its allies is what stops. But -- -- -- from going further into Ukraine now that they've already moved to annex Crimea to -- today try to move further on this and and that's the message that the president's trying to send to say that will not be acceptable -- it's not clear whether that is heard in Moscow are not. So I think he I think a little bit of -- bullying tactic in a tone that was a bit different. But not a different solution not -- necessarily a better solution also the president so we don't really know what's going to work. Great Rick thanks so much you wanna go to ABC Mary Bruce Perry Bruce is traveling with the president right now she joins us. Mary what does the White House pushing -- material gains made during the summit. If you if you looked a bit discussions -- -- came out at yesterday's meeting with the G-7 even though of course that's not what this summit was all about that is undoubtedly the headline coming out here. Russia has been essentially pushed out. Of the G-8 until it goes ahead and changes course in Ukraine saying that there and -- no longer. They're going to be meeting in Russia next but instead -- -- that meeting in June in Brussels with Al President Clinton and also of course mentioning -- sect -- sanctions. Which is a step that G-7 could go ahead an impose against Russia against overarching sectors of the Russian economy we're talking about trade. Arms thinking things that could have a real effect on the Russian economy. -- -- they'll only take that step. If Russia goes it escalates the situation even further moving some of those 30000 troops that are now gathered on the border into eastern Ukraine or possibly even further. And Marriott think President Obama was among friends today during -- summit do you think it showed both in. What he said and how he said it today. There's a question that they're trying to show that there is. Unified response here from not just the US that the US and its partners remember the president in his first comments. Yesterday said that the US and Europe is negative it supported Ukraine. And an agreement that there needs did the further costs imposed on Russian experts action so -- hearing a slightly different. Change in tone from the president that's all to show that this is something going for that they're doing in coordination with with big European partners. And -- a lot of other topics -- also covered today including. The NSA question coincidence that the NSA reform program went public during the president's time with some foreign leaders who were not. Happy with that story. The timing certainly is interesting and -- the -- should be questioned to keep in mind this was an ongoing review. The president now saying that it I didn't do away with. This controversial NSA program that gathers don't -- data gathering -- on virtually every American's don't call now the president has defended his program in the past saying that it. To -- it -- because it has prevented terrorist attacks. But he recognizes that there is a broad concern from the public about these kinds of programs. They will go ahead and from going forward the government will no longer gather this data but instead will be gathered by the phone companies and out genuinely interesting timing -- Yeah exactly and back here at home as we're hearing some of those details about the NSA reform -- program can we expect congress. We'll also be on board and pass these changes what a re hearing. -- that's the big question while the president's coming out showing that he's taking action here. Listening to the concerns of the American public and of course a lot of the concern that has been hurt. As well from overseas and some of these international countries as well that's still requires congressional approval -- As you know it's very hard these days for the president to get lawmakers -- agree with him on just about anything. And you know a lot tensions we've heard concern of little from a lot of folks about the massive Russian forces on Ukraine's eastern border. How seriously do western leaders gathered at The Hague take the threat of a full scale Russian offensive in Ukraine. Very seriously as we know -- now 30000 Russian troops gathered on the border now we heard the president today saying that they are still of course on the Russian side. That he thinks president is still trying to set to decide his next move but. Make no mistake about it that. The -- -- it came out yesterday from the G-7 saying that they would take those additional harsh steps. To try and impose further costs on Russia if those troops were to go into eastern Ukraine they're trying to send out there -- strong message that they take that troop presence very seriously. And marry that rush. His foreign minister Sergey Lavrov a very strong character -- -- right actually sat down with his Ukrainian counterpart. Since the government that Moscow has not recognized as legit what does that signal to the international community. The president -- -- White House that's about this yesterday and they said look it's a good sign of course that they are sitting and and talking but. It all comes down to actions and so while that that might be a step in the right direction they still want to wait and see what might come out of any of that and and they are extremely skeptical of anything at that the Russians claim to be doing say they're doing so they want -- See actions not just here -- all right ABC's Mary Bruce from The Hague thank you. And you can keep up with the president's trip in real time by downloading in the ABC news -- and star in this story for exclusive updates on ago. It has been an ABC news digital special report I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.