‘This Week’ Transcript: John Kerry

ByABC News
February 28, 2014, 1:41 PM
CNN's "Crossfire" Co-Host Van Jones, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) Illinois, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and ABC News' Cokie Roberts on 'This Week'
CNN's "Crossfire" Co-Host Van Jones, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) Illinois, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and ABC News' Cokie Roberts on 'This Week'
ABC News

March 2, 2014— -- Below is the rush transcript for "This Week" on March 2, 2014 and it may contain errors. STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to This Week.

Brink of war: Russian forces take Crimea. Parliament authorizing a strike on Ukraine. With the world on high alert, will Vladimir Putin expand his invasion.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But will those costs be? Does President Obama have the power to prevent war? This morning, answers from Secretary of State John Kerry and our experts. Plus live reports from the danger zone.

Culture clash: that hot button bill in Arizona. The governor's veto (ph), a watershed moment in the fight for gay rights. Our powerhouse roundtable takes on that debate and all the week's politics.

Plus, Mr. Affleck goes to Washington.

And staff guru (inaudible) cracks the Oscar code all right here this Sunday morning.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As we come on the air this morning, America and the rest are facing the most perilous confrontation with Russia since the Cold War. President Obama spent a tense 90 minutes on the phone with Vladimir Putin yesterday warning him to withdraw forces from Ukraine.

The UN security council has been meeting in emergency session, but Russia is not backing down. Its forces on the move in Crimea surrounding Ukrainian military bases. The new Ukrainian government has put its forces on high alert too. It is a high stakes and dangerous standoff.

And we begin our team coverage with ABC's Alex Marquardt in Crimea.

ALEX MARQUARDT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: George, when the U.S. says Russia has invaded Ukraine, this is what they mean. These pro-Russian troops are patrolling the streets of Crimea. They have taken over government buildings and the airports. They will not say a word to us, but their message is loud and clear.


MARQUARDT: A dangerous standoff in Crimea -- these well armed professional troops in full combat gear lining the outer wall of a Ukrainian naval base. No one going in or out.

At another base, this commander told us he'd been ordered twice to surrender, but he said his orders were to hold the base and added he was ready to fight.

Russian marines had been seen on the move in Crimea, a region of Ukraine which is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet and a mostly Russian population.

The U.S. says what is happening is a Russian invasion and occupation and is demanding that their troops withdraw. The UN security council met yesterday in an emergency session.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: It is time for the Russian intervention in Ukraine to end. The Russian military must stand down...

MARQUARDT: During a 90 minute call on Sunday, President Putin told President Obama that Russia has the right to defend its interests and Russian people.

Other international leaders have joined with the U.S., British Prime Minister David Cameron saying there's no excuse. Canada recalling its ambassador from Moscow.

This, as pro-Russia fervor sweeps eastern Ukraine. Flags torn down from government buildings, pro-Russia protesters savagely beating those supporting Ukraine's new government. Ukraine now more divided than ever and the prospect of war growing ever closer.


MARQUARDT: Now it is a waiting game. Will Russia complete its takeover of Crimea and possibly other parts of Ukraine? Or will it bow to American and international pressure -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is the big question.

You know, Vladimir Putin's intervention in Ukraine, that goes previous military moves into former Soviet republics like Georgia. And this is the latest in a series of challenges to America and the west.

So what is behind these moves? And where will he go next? ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran has more on that.


TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In just a few dramatic days, Vladimir Putin has shown the world two sides of his dominating leadership style as ruler of Russia. First, there was Sochi. The Olympic games were Putin's personal project, seven years of work, $50 billion spent all to send a single overriding message as he told George Stephanopoulos just before the games began.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I would very much like during the Olympics for the athletes, visitors, reporters and those who will follow the Olympics on TV through the media for people to see a new Russia.

MORAN: Then came Ukraine. After revolution in Kiev, Russian tanks, choppers and troops moved into Crimea, an older, darker image of Russian power. But Putin has done this before. 2008, Russian troops invade the neighboring nation of Georgia. Putin declares he is defending ethnic Russians there, the same rationale for his moves in Ukraine. The U.S. and European allies object, but six years later Russian troops remain in Georgia.

Now, Putin has put the world on notice he is willing to use military force in Ukraine and risk another conflict with the U.S. and the west.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are (inaudible) cold war, but we are on the edge of (inaudible).

MORAN: Here's why, Ukraine is a divided nation. Kiev and the west in the country yearn to join Europe and the U.S. and forge a different future while in Crimea and the east where so many ethnic Russian live, they look to Moscow. And Moscow has used Crimea as a major Russian naval base for 200 years.

On Friday, Obama tried to send his own message to Putin.

OBAMA: That there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

MORAN: Hours later, Russian troops were on the move and Putin was authorizing more.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It's pretty clear that maybe the president of the United States has been a bit naive about Vladimir Putin and his ambitions.


MORAN: To be fair, George W. Bush did no better managing Putin even though he declared he'd looked into his soul. The fact is, Putin cares more about being feared than loved in the world and he cares most about restoring Russia's greatness through pageantry or raw power. His next move, it's clear, solidify control over Crimea and make sure that Ukraine never moves too close to the west or else -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks, Terry. We are joined now by Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning. We’ve got these reports now, Russian forces surrounding Ukrainian military bases in the Crimea. Ukraine’s prime minister says we are on the brink of disaster. Is he right?

KERRY: Well, we hope not. We hope it’s not going to be a disaster. What has already happened is a brazen act of aggression, in violation of international law and violation of the UN Charter and violation of the Helsinki final act. In violation of the 1997 Ukraine-Russia basing agreement. Russia is engaged in a military act of aggression against another country, and it has huge risks, George. It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century. It really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G-8.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I understand (ph) it’s a violation, sir. So what’s the penalty for what Russia has already done?

KERRY: Well, we are busy right now coordinating with our counterparts in many parts of the world. Yesterday, the president of the United States had an hour and a half conversation with President Putin. He pointed out importantly that we don’t want this to be a larger confrontation. We are not looking for a U.S.-Russia, East-West redux here. What we want is for Russia to work with us, with Ukraine. If they have legitimate concerns, George, about Russian speaking people in Ukraine, there are plenty of ways to deal with that without invading the country. They have the ability to work with the government, they could work with us, they could work with the UN. They could call for observers to be put in the country. There are all kinds of alternatives. But Russia has chosen this aggressive act, which really puts in question Russia’s role in the world and Russia’s willingness to be a modern nation and part of the G8.

I think there are, you know, they are inviting the possibility of very serious repercussions on trade, on investment, on assets, asset freeze, visa bonds (ph). The potential of actions by the global community against this unilateral step.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me (inaudible), specified. Is the United States willing to impose sanctions if Russia does not back down? Are you willing to go to Ukraine and show solidarity with the Ukrainians if Russia does not back down?

KERRY: Absolutely. And the United States and the president is currently considering all options. They are all on the table. We will call on Congress immediately to the degree that they are prepared to be helpful that they immediately lay down with us an economic package in order to assist Ukraine. We think it’s very important for the international entities, the OSCE, the UN, NATO, the North Atlantic Council, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which will meet tomorrow, all need to weigh in. And I believe they will weigh in heavily.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So let me just pin you down on that. You say that Congress is considering military aid to Ukraine. You want Congress to pass military aid to Ukraine. But do you want to impose economic sanctions – economically, excuse me. Do you want them to impose economic sanctions on Russia?