President Barack Obama on Thursday ruled out a "military excursion" by the United States in Ukraine, saying that engaging Russia militarily "would not be appropriate."
"We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine," he said in an interview with KNSD in San Diego. "What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we've got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message, which is that Ukraine should decide their destiny."
"There is a better path, but I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge that for us to engage Russia militarily would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine either," he added.
In a separate interview with KSDK in St. Louis, Obama reiterated that a military option is not on the table but that the United States and its allies are prepared to take "even more disruptive economic actions."
"Obviously, we do not need to trigger an actual war with Russia," he said. "The Ukrainians don't want that. Nobody would want that."
Obama granted interviews to six local television stations on Wednesday.
In the interview with KNSD, the president insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin "acted out of weakness, not out of strength," saying that Putin is "not comfortable" with countries loosening their ties to the Kremlin in favor of more freedom to deal with the West.
"His strategic decisions are no way based on whether he thought that we might go to war over this," he added. "I think there’s a clear understanding that when it comes to our core interests or our NATO allies we can protect ourselves."
First published March 19 2014, 2:03 PM
Carrie Dann is a national political writer for NBCNews.com. She has worked for NBC and NBCNews.com since 2006. Dann writes about politics and Congress. Dann rejoined the web team after 18 months as a campaign reporter for NBC News, covering presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2012 election. She also covered the 2007-2008 presidential campaign for NBC, including extensive reporting on the Iowa caucuses.
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Prior to her work at NBCNews.com, Dann was a staff reporter at CongressDaily, where she covered lobbying and government reform.
A Virginia native, she now lives in Washington, D.C.