"The President (Putin) may have his version of history, but I believe that he and Russia, for what they have done, are on the wrong side of history," Secretary of State John Kerry said while commenting on the Ukrainian crisis. JPN/Agencies
"I was really struck and somewhat surprised and even disappointed by the interpretations in the facts as they were articulated by the President," Kerry said on Tuesday soon after Putin signed a treaty claiming the Black Sea region of Crimea as Russian territory.
The White House said Russia's move to annex Ukrainian province Crimea has badly affected the credibility and international stature of Moscow.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also warned Russia to be ready to face the consequences of annexing Crimea "illegally".
"Sanctions will increase. Designations will be forthcoming. So it's hard for me to put a pin on what the ongoing consequences of that kind of action would be.
"What I can say without question is that this action, the results of the referendum, and the attempt to annex a region of Ukraine illegally will never be recognized by United States or the international community," he asserted.
The White House said it is looking at the international community, including India, to condemn Russia's action as the Obama Administration intensified its global effort to garner support for Ukraine.
Putin, facing the prospect of international isolation in the wake of its action, on Tuesday explained the situation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who underlined India's position on "unity and territorial integrity" of countries and hoped a diplomatic solution would be found to the issue.
Singh expressed the hope that all sides would exercise restraint and work together "constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that protect the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensured long-term peace and stability in Europe and beyond."
Even as Putin called Singh to explain his position on Ukraine, US officials would not tell the level of its outreach with India; with whom the Obama Administration is building strategic partnership.
But White House officials did indicate that US wants India to condemn the Russian military action in Crimea.
"We have been consulting closely with our partners and allies in Europe and the G7 on Ukraine but also with other nations around the world. I don't have any specific conversations to read out for you with India, but obviously we are looking to the entire international community to condemn Russia's action and to support Ukraine," Laura Lucas Magnuson, spokesperson of the National Security Council, said.
Over the past few weeks, the top American leadership, including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry, has been reaching out to its friends, allies and key global players against the Russian action in the Crimean region of Ukraine.
Following a telephonic conversation between Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, the White House said the two leaders condemned Russia's move to annex Crimea and have agreed to send international monitors to Ukraine immediately.
"The leaders condemned Russia's moves to formally annex Crimea, which is a violation of international law, and noted there would be costs," the White House said.
Clinton warns of further Russian aggression
Other countries near Russia could also face aggression if Putin is allowed to get away with his actions in Ukraine, former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said.
Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential contender, called Russia's move to annex Crimea illegal and a violation of international law.
"If he's allowed to get away with that, I think you'll see a lot of other countries either directly facing Russian aggression or suborned with their political systems so that they are so intimidated that in effect they are transformed into vassals, not sovereign democracies," Clinton said at an event hosted by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal at the Palais des Congres on Tuesday.
In response to a question about Ukraine, Clinton advocated a "two-track" approach toward resolving the crisis that included economic incentives and "standing up for our values."
Along with sanctions against Russia, Clinton argued for increased financial and technical support for a democratic government in Kiev. She also said Europe needs to be encouraged to find other energy sources so they aren't dependent on Russian oil and gas.
"We don't have to be rattling sabers and all that. That's not useful. But people need to get moving in protecting themselves against future intimidation. It might take a year, it might take two years, but it needs to be slow and steady. And then once again people will see the difference, they will see the choices,” she said.
Clinton referred to the conflict as a "clash of values" and "an effort by Putin to rewrite the boundaries of post-World War II Europe."
"We're going to stand up against illegal acts and we're going to demonstrate that we have a better model, just like we did for 50 years. That takes continuity and persistence and it takes a consensus across the political spectrum in our country, certainly," she said.
Clinton said she's hopeful another Cold War can be avoided. "Obviously nobody wants to see that. I think that's primarily up to Putin."
Earlier this month, Clinton likened Putin's actions on the Crimean Peninsula to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. She has also said he is a tough but thin-skinned leader who is squandering his country's potential.
"The President (Putin) may have his version of history, but I believe that he and Russia, for what they have done, are on the wrong side of history," Secretary of State John Kerry said while commenting on the Ukrainian crisis.