International Leaders Condemn Russian Activity In Crimea

With Russian troops occupying the Ukrainian Crimea region, Western leaders have voiced concern over the possibility for conflict.

International Leaders Condemn Russian Activity In Crimea
The New York Times / Sergey Ponomarev

With tension rising between Kiev and Moscow over Russian incursions in Crimea, the international community has denounced Russia's actions in the Ukrainian peninsula and asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to stand down. 

The condemnation comes after Putin reportedly received formal permission to use armed forces in Crimea from the Russian parliament. Considering how Russian forces are already largely in control of the region, the act was seen as a formality.

Shortly after, European officials expressed their alarm and the UN Security Council moved to hold an urgent meeting at the request of the United Kingdom. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a video message saying:

"Cool heads must prevail, and dialogue must be the overture in ending this crisis. I appeal to President Putin to urgently engage in direct dialogue with the authorities in Kiev." (Via United Nations)

New York Magazine reports that Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, spoke about the importance of maintaining Ukraine's sovereignty at a Saturday event in Berlin. At the same event, an EU official called the potential flash point "unthinkable in the 21st century in the European continent."

The Wall Street Journal reports that French President François Hollande spoke with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning him that "everything must be done to avoid outside intervention and the risk of a highly dangerous escalation."

Some countries are a little more cautious about intervening in the former Soviet territory though.

Fars News Agency reports that Iran's foreign minister cautioned against foreign intervention, saying that "We hope that the Ukrainian people will themselves decide about their future, and that we won’t observe the conditions in Ukraine lead to conflicts and return of hostile relations."

In a phone call with Putin, President Obama expressed his concern with Russia's actions and "made clear that Russia's continued violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia's standing in the international community." (Via The White House)

The president also threatened to suspend the United State's participation in the upcoming G-8 summit that is to be held in Sochi, Russia.