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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Obama Moves Close to Calling Russian Action in Ukraine an Invasion......

BRISBANE, Australia — President Obama on Sunday said he told President Vladimir V. Putin in meetings last week that the United States and its allies would continue to impose sanctions on Russia for actions in Ukraine that he edged close to calling an invasion.
The United States, Mr. Obama said, was “very firm on the need to uphold core international principles, and one of those principles is you don’t invade other countries.” The Russians, he said, were supplying heavy weapons and financial backing to separatists in Ukraine.
Speaking at the end of a meeting here of the Group of 20 industrialized economies, Mr. Obama said leaders of European allies confirmed that Russia was still violating the terms of an agreement it signed on Ukraine. He characterized his encounters with Mr. Putin as “businesslike and blunt.”Continue reading the main story
Mr. Obama’s wide-ranging news conference came at the end of a hectic weeklong trip to Asia that produced a landmark climate-change agreement with China, progress on a number of trade issues, and a return visit for the president to Myanmar, in which he admonished its military-dominated government to keep the reform process on track.
The bitterness of Russia’s actions spilled over into the G-20 meeting, with Mr. Putin getting a chilly reception from several leaders. Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada bluntly told Mr. Putin that he needed to withdraw from Ukraine.But the trip was also shadowed by renewed fears of Russian incursions in Ukraine. Mr. Obama held a meeting here with European leaders to discuss the prospect of additional sanctions against Russia, after new reports of Russian troops operating inside the country.
Turning to Syria, Mr. Obama said the United States would not make “common cause” with President Bashar al-Assad in the campaign against the Islamic State group. But he said the United States was not weighing ways to remove him from office.
Mr. Obama denied that the United States was changing its strategy against the Islamic State in Syria. He said that while the White House was constantly reviewing its campaign against the militants in both Syria and Iraq, the basic components of it remained in place.
With the American economy currently outperforming those of Europe and Japan, Mr. Obama came into this meeting with a stronger hand than he has had in past meetings. Administration officials said they had succeeded in pushing a message of growth-oriented policies in the communiqué issued by the countries at the end of the meeting. The statement is usually more balanced between the virtues of growth and austerity.