Hardball: Obama might skip G-8 in Sochi over Ukraine row

Hardball: Obama might skip G-8 in Sochi over Ukraine row

[Ed. – That’ll show ’em.]

WASHINGTON     (AP) — U.S. officials said Friday that President Barack Obama may scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia this summer and could also halt discussions on deepening trade ties with Moscow, raising specific possible consequences if Russia should intervene in Ukraine. Obama himself bluntly warned of unspecified “costs” for Russia.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama declared. Such action by Russia would represent a “profound interference” in matters that must be decided by the Ukrainian people, he said. …

Separately, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he would not address specific U.S. options, “but this could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.” Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “we’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.” …

In Washington, it was unclear whether the administration’s threats to pull trade talks or cancel presidential travel might have any impact on Russia’s calculations. Obama canceled a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin last year after Russia granted asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, though Obama still attended a separate international meeting in Russia.

Putin is scheduled to host the Group of Eight economic summit in June in Sochi, the site of the recently completed Winter Olympics. The U.S. is in discussions about the summit with European partners and it is difficult to see how some of those leaders would attend the summit if Russia has forces in Crimea, according to the administration officials. They were not authorized to discuss the situation by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

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