President Barack Obama says that Russia is a "regional power," rather than the top geopolitical enemy of the United States.
Asked whether he had reassessed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's assertion that Russia is "America's number one geopolitical foe," Obama called Russia a "regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors -- not out of strength but out of weakness."
"Russia's actions are a problem," he said at a joint press conference at the Hague with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan."
Obama said Russia's move to annex Crimea lays bare its failure to portray strength to the international community.
'We have considerable influence over our neighbors," Obama added. 'We generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them."
Obama also disputed the notion that his administration "misread" the motivations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that he's "more interested in the facts and the principles" that the United States and its allies are working to uphold in addressing the crisis
He added that Russia's move to annex Crimea is not a "done deal," noting its rejection by most of the international community.
First published March 25 2014, 8:50 AM
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.