BBG Watch Commentary

President Obama Delivers A Statement on Ukraine 3-17-14  10.46AM EDT

Obama speaks on Ukraine at 10:45AM, Voice of America is not reporting, has no live coverage. VOA has no separate, exclusive report on President Obama’s statement.

Both BBC and Russia’s multimedia outlet RT streamed President Obama’s remarks on Ukraine live.

BBC provided not only live streaming but also live text, as Voice of America should have done but did not. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which like Voice of America is also managed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), offered a much longer report on President Obama’s Ukraine speech, even though RFE/RL is not required to specialize in U.S. news reporting while Voice of America is under its charter, which is U.S. public law.

BBC Reporting Live, Live Online Streaming from the White House

BBC Live Obama Coverage Screenshot

BBC Screenshot

The President has now finished speaking some minutes ago. There is still no mention of his speech on the Voice of America English news website.

UPDATE: VOA did not pre-announce President Obama’s statement on Ukraine sanctions, as other other media outlets did and did not stream it live online. Several minutes after President Obama finished speaking, VOA English news website posted a photo and one sentence about his statement on Ukraine.

VOA should have streamed President Obama’s remarks live on its website and should have posted immediate text summaries and Tweets of what he said. At 11:15AM, VOA English website still has only one sentence about the content of his speech. But posting even one sentence several minutes later is still better than how the VOA English news website usually performs.

Voice of America Homepage Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 10.48AM EDT
Voice of America Homepage Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 10.48AM EDT

As of 12:02PM EDT, Voice of America still has essentially only one sentence summarizing President Obama’s remarks, although by now VOA has finally posted a video of his statement.

The second sentence, taken from the VOA website, does not actually refer to Obama’s Monday remarks but to his earlier executive order. In effect, President Obama’s entire statement on Ukraine Monday morning received only one sentence from the Voice of America English news and no live streaming or coverage of a significant U.S. foreign policy announcement by the President of the United States being delivered only a few blocks away from the offices of Voice of America top executives located on Independence Avenue in Washington, DC.

VOA: Speaking at the White House, Obama announced that he ordered sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, including two top advisers to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in addition to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. All will be subject to asset freezes.

In an executive order issued earlier, Obama said that the policies and actions of the Russian Federation have been found to “undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) had a much more comprehensive report on President Obama’s statement than what visitors to the VOA English website were able to find more than two hours after he finished speaking. UPDATE: Eventually VOA added to its old report a few more sentences about the content of President Obama’s remarks.

DEUTSCHE WELLE (DW): US President Barack Obama on Monday underlined Washington’s commitment to working with its European allies to resolve the Ukraine crisis. He also warned that Russia could face further isolation following the Crimean referendum.

Obama said he was prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over its alleged incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region.

“If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions,” said Obama.

“We’ll continue to make clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world.”

Obama underlined the US’ commitment to NATO allies, saying Vice President Joe Biden was on his way to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

“As NATO allies, we have a solemn commitment to collective defense,” he added.

The US president had earlier announced that the assets of seven Russian officials, including advisers to President Vladimir Putin, would have assets frozen for their alleged support of the Crimean vote. The US Treasury said it would also introduce sanctions against four Ukrainians, including former President Viktor Yanukovych.

DEUTSCHE WELLE (DW) West warns Russia of further sanctions as EU, US announce measures, March 17, 2014



Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 17, 2014


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

10:45 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. In recent months, as the citizens of Ukraine have made their voices heard, we have been guided by a fundamental principle — the future of Ukraine must be decided by the people of Ukraine. That means Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and international law must be upheld.

And so, Russia’s decision to send troops into Crimea has rightly drawn global condemnation. From the start, the United States has mobilized the international community in support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions and to reassure our allies and partners. We saw this international unity again over the weekend, when Russia stood alone in the U.N. Security Council defending its actions in Crimea. And as I told President Putin yesterday, the referendum in Crimea was a clear violation of Ukrainian constitutions and international law, and it will not be recognized by the international community.

Today, I’m announcing a series of measures that will continue to increase the cost on Russia and on those responsible for what is happening in Ukraine. First, as authorized by the executive order I signed two weeks ago, we are imposing sanctions on specific individuals responsible for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine. We’re making it clear that there are consequences for their actions.

Second, I have signed a new executive order that expands the scope of our sanctions. As an initial step, I’m authorizing sanctions on Russian officials — entities operating in the arms sector in Russia and individuals who provide material support to senior officials of the Russian government. And if Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions.

Third, we’re continuing our close consultations with our European partners, who today in Brussels moved ahead with their own sanctions against Russia. Tonight, Vice President Biden departs for Europe, where he will meet with the leaders of our NATO allies — Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And I’ll be traveling to Europe next week. Our message will be clear. As NATO allies, we have a solemn commitment to our collective defense, and we will uphold this commitment.

Fourth, we’ll continue to make clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world. The international community will continue to stand together to oppose any violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continued Russian military intervention in Ukraine will only deepen Russia’s diplomatic isolation and exact a greater toll on the Russian economy.

Going forward, we can calibrate our response based on whether Russia chooses to escalate or to de-escalate the situation. Now, I believe there’s still a path to resolve this situation diplomatically in a way that addresses the interest of both Russia and Ukraine. That includes Russia pulling its forces in Crimea back to their bases, supporting the deployment of additional international monitors in Ukraine, and engaging in dialogue with the Ukrainian government, which has indicated its openness to pursuing constitutional reform as they move forward towards elections this spring.

But throughout this process, we’re going to stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine. As I told Prime Minister Yatsenyuk last week, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine and their right to determine their own destiny. We’re going to keep working with Congress and our international partners to offer Ukraine the economic support that it needs to weather this crisis and to improve the daily lives of the Ukrainian people.

And as we go forward, we’ll continue to look at the range of ways we can help our Ukrainian friends achieve their universal rights and the security, prosperity and dignity that they deserve. Thanks very much. And Jay, I think, will be available for questions. Thank you.

END 10:49 A.M. EDT

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