Hillary Clinton: Russia's Move To Annex Crimea Is Illegal


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Presidential possibility and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, made some strong comments about the Russian appropriation of Crimea on Tuesday. She described Russia's actions as an affront to "our values" that will set a dangerous precedent if left unpunished.

"What Putin did is illegal; it is against international law,” Clinton said during a speech in Montreal just after Putin signed treaties with Crimea's Moscow-backed leaders.

She additionally warned that Putin's reasons for invading Crimea, could be extended to other parts of Ukraine, as well as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

“It’s not because we gave the poor little Baltic States NATO protection. And people need to say that, and they need to be very clear: This is a clash of values, and it's an effort by Putin to rewrite the boundaries of post-World War II Europe. And if he's allowed to get away with that, then I think you’ll see a lot of other countries either directly facing Russian aggression or suborned with their political systems — so they’re so intimidated that, in effect, they are transformed into vassals, not sovereign democracies."

She added, “I hope there’s not another Cold War,” when asked if that was how she saw the conflict playing out. “Obviously, nobody wants to see that. I think that’s primarily up to Putin.”

The United States earlier this week announced strong sanctions targeting officials tied to the crisis on Monday.

Clinton, who recently likened Putin’s moves in the Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler’s in the 1930s, warned that allowing Russia to escape relatively unscathed from its actions in the Ukraine sends a problematic message.

“What Putin did is illegal,” she said.

“How far this aggressiveness goes, I think, is really up to us,” she said. “I would like to see us accelerating the development of pipelines from Azerbaijan up into Europe, I’d like to see us looking for ways to accelerate internal domestic production [in places like Poland] … and just really go at this in a self-interested, smart way. Russians can only intimidate you if you’re dependent upon them.”

When asked about her political future Clinton has signaled she could make a decision about running for president this year, restating that she hasn’t made up her mind yet. But she said she will “continue to do everything I can to respond to these legitimate needs and concerns of people I have worked with and represented.”

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