Today in a briefing at the White House, President Barack Obama provided an update on the U.S. response to the situations in Iraq and Ukraine. The President addressed the situation in Iraq first, saying "in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorizes to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.
"As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland. Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back. And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.
"Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region. And that's why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq's leaders building on the progress that they've made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.
"Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I'm encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don't always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them. And I've asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that's needed to meet this threat. As I've said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I'm confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and our partners. For our part, I've directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I'll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy. And I've been consulting with members of Congress and I'll continue to do so in the days ahead."
The President continued by addressing the situation in Ukraine.
He said, "Finally, I just spoke with Chancellor Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine. We agree -- if there was ever any doubt -- that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia. They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see. This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.
"As a result of the actions Russia has already taken, and the major sanctions we;ve imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Capital is fleeing. Investors are increasingly staying out. Its economy is in decline. And this ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia.
The President concluded by outlining his priorities for his upcoming trip to Europe next week for the NATO Summit.
He said, "Next week, I'll be in Europe to coordinate with our closest allies and partners. In Estonia, I will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of our NATO allies. At the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom, we'll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge. Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine. And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month. "
For more information:
- Statement by President Obama on August 28, 2014
- Readout of President Obama's Meeting with the National Security Council on Iraq and ISIL
- Readout of President Obama's Call With Chancellor Merkel of Germany
- Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the Visit of President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine
- Remarks by Ambassador Power at United Nations Security Council Session on Ukraine, August 28, 2014
- U.S. Central Command Website
- U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq Website