President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Russian leaders “miscalculated” if they believed that an incursion into Ukraine would divide the United States and its European allies.
"If anyone in Russian leadership thought the world would not care about their actions in Ukraine, or that they could drive a wedge between the European Union and the United States, they clearly miscalculated,” Obama said after a meeting between with European Union leaders in Brussels.
Obama said that America and its allies are united in their support for Ukraine and that they have made clear to Russia that there will be “growing consequences” if Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his aggression there.
"Russia’s actions in Ukraine aren't just about one country," he said. "They are about the kind of Europe and the kind of world that we live in."
Obama acknowledged that further sanctions would likely have significant effects on countries in Europe.
"We recognize that in order for Russia to feel the brunt of the impact of these sanctions that it will have some impact on the global economy as well as on all the countries that are represented here today," he said. "And we are mindful that that's going to be different, not just between the United States and Europe but also among different countries inside of Europe."
Asked about pending free trade deals, Obama said there are "legitimate questions" about the impact of those agreements but pledged not to approve legislation that would chip away at consumer or environmental protections.
"I have fought my entire political career and as president to strengthen consumer protections," he said. "I have no intention of signing legislation that would weaken those protections."