Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia Sunday that it should rethink its military intervention in Ukraine, warning of possible economic consequences and embarrassment on the world stage.
Tensions flared over the weekend as Russian President Vladimir Putin sought and received permission from his parliament Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine. Troops have already stationed themselves in Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula that is home to one of Moscow's naval bases.
Kerry planned to travel to Ukraine on Monday.
"It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country," Kerry said on "Face the Nation" Sunday, adding that Russia has violated Ukraine's sovereignty and several of its obligations under international agreements. "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext."
He urged Russia to consider other options, the message pushed by the White House in the wake of a 90-minute call between President Obama and Putin Saturday. The hope is that Putin will have to withdraw after vigorously arguing for the sovereignty rights of states like Syria and Iran on the world stage, inconsistent with Putin's actions in Ukraine.
Several foreign powers are already preparing a set of economic consequences if Russia does not withdraw its forces. Kerry said he spoke to 10 of the foreign ministers of the countries most engaged on the issue, and "all of them, every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion. They're prepared to put sanctions in place, they're prepared to isolate Russia economically."
He also said the U.S. was "absolutely prepared" to boycott the upcoming G8 summit in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and suggested that visa bans, asset freezes and other acts to isolate Russia in the trade or business realm could motivate Putin to act.
"We're not trying to make this a battle between East and West, we're not trying to make this a Cold War. Nobody wants this kind of action, there are many ways to resolve this kind of problem," Kerry said. "If Russia wants to be a G8 country, it needs to behave like a G8 country, and I guarantee you that everybody is determined that if this cannot be resolved in a reasonable, modern, 21st century manner, there are going to be repercussions."
Kerry said Putin's actions were motivated by "weakness and out of a certain kind of desperation."