WASHINGTON: Engaging in a military conflict with Russia amid growing tensions between Moscow and Washington would be unwise, US president Barack Obama has said adding that the US policy of imposing tough sanctions on Russia after the latter's actions in Ukraine has badly hit the Russian economy.
"I don't think that it would be wise for the US or the world to see an actual military conflict between the United States and Russia," Obama told Fareed Zakaria of the GPS, a CNN Sunday talk show, in an interview aired yesterday.
"I think that's entirely fair. And I think that is a testament to the bad decisions that Mr Putin is making on behalf of his country," Obama said when asked if it is fair to say that his Russia policy has been pretty effective in imposing real costs on the Russian economy, but it has not deterred the Russian President Vladimir Putin from creating instability in Ukraine.
Obama said when he came into office, he talked about the resetting of the US-Russia relationship.
"And I established I think an effective working relationship with (the then Russian President, Dmitry) Medvedev. And as a consequence, Russia's economy was growing. They had the opportunity to begin diversifying their economy. Their relations across Europe and around the world were sound. They joined the WTO, with assistance from us," he said.
"Since Mr Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine, not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off balance by the protests in the Maidan, and Yanukovych then fleeing after we'd brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine," he noted.
"Since that time this improvisation that he has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, has isolated Russia diplomatically, has made Europe wary of doing business with Russia," Obama alleged.
"Has allowed the imposition of sanctions that are crippling Russia's economy at a time when their oil revenues are dropping. There's no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia. The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit to Russia," he said.
Observing that the days, in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over, Obama said the power of countries today is measured by your knowledge, skills, ability to export goods to invent new products and new services, and influence.