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Kerry threatens Russia with sanctions, military force over Crimea

Secretary of State John Kerry listens to comments made during a meeting between Pres. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday
Secretary of State John Kerry listens to comments made during a meeting between Pres. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday
Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

During an interview for ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. government may respond to Russia's military involvement in Crimea with economic sanctions or even military force.

“The president is currently considering all options, they’re all on the table. We would call on Congress immediately to be helpful to us, that they law down immediately with us an economic package to help Ukraine,” Kerry said.

“There’s no question but that Russia needs to understand this is serious and we and the other friends and allies engaged in this are all deadly serious about this. You can not behave like this in the 21st century.

“We believe there is an alternative. We call on Russia to engage with the government of Ukraine. We’re prepared to engage with Russia to address whatever legitimate concerns that exist.”

Other members of the federal government have had strong words for Russia, including Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who told Fox News on Sunday that “Putin is playing chess, and I think we are playing marbles — and I don't think it's even close.”

“I believe it’s the naïve position of the National Security Council and the president’s advisers that, if we just keep giving things to Russia, they’ll wake up and say, 'the United States is not that bad,'” Rogers continued. “That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what Russia does.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, writing for Politico on Saturday, called Russia's presence in Crimea an “illegal military incursion,” adding that it's a “violation of a nation’s sovereignty and cannot go unpunished.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has defended his country's actions, saying that “in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” according to the Kremlin's description of a phone call between Putin and Pres. Obama.