Crisis in Ukraine: John Kerry, Chuck Hagel weigh in


WASHINGTON (CBS News) - Tensions continue to rise Monday as the unraveling crisis in Ukraine threatens to boil over and make way for a deeper, prolonged conflict between the United States and Russia.

Before Russia expanded its control over Crimea on Monday, doubling down on its intention to occupy the Black Sea peninsula, top Obama administration officials appeared on "Face the Nation" to tell the Russians to stop their incursion into the sovereignty of Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Putin's actions in the strongest terms Sunday on "Face The Nation."

"It's an incredible act of aggression," Kerry said. "It is really a stunning willful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations."

His comments were covered by the Associated Press, Reuters, UPI, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Guardian, The New Yorker, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, the Christian Science Monitor, NPR, Voice of America and Mashable. Cable networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC also covered the story.

Pressed by "Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer on how the U.S. could effectively retaliate, Kerry said the Obama administration is considering sanctions against Russia or kicking the country out of the prestigious Group of Eight.

"If Russia wants to be a G8 country, it needs to behave like a G8 country," Kerry said.

Kerry's threats of economic and diplomatic consequences were covered by AFP, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico and Newsmax. He will surely deliver this same message Tuesday in Putin's backyard, when he plans to meet with top Ukrainian officials in Kiev. The opposition leaders have controlled the capital for about one week after a popular uprising forced the pro-Russian Ukrainian president out of power.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who also appeared on "Face The Nation," warned Sunday that the crisis could become a "very dangerous situation" if events continue unfolding in the region "in a very provocative way." National Review Online and The Week covered these comments.

Back on the domestic agenda, the Senate plans to vote this week on a bill by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would dramatically change how the military handles sexual crimes by removing commanders from sexual assault investigations and prosecutions.

In an interview for "Face the Nation," Gillibrand said she thinks there are enough votes to break a filibuster and pass the bill. The story was covered by the Associated Press and the Washington Times. In Hagel's appearance on the show, he voiced his long-standing opposition to the bill, which was picked up by The New York Times.