WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Secretary of State John Kerry said that Russia should be “very careful” in decisions it makes on Ukraine, and said that he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin rejects a Cold War mentality with the U.S. because “this is not Rocky IV.”
Speaking with NBC News on Wednesday, Kerry responded to reports that Putin ordered military drills in the district bordering Ukraine and the fact the Russian president has not publicly reacted to the ousting of his Ukrainian ally, President Viktor Yanukovich. But Kerry remained hopeful that Putin would keep his word to President Barack Obama in a recent phone call, and reject a Cold War relationship with the U.S.
“I think Russia needs to be very careful in the judgments that it makes going forward here,” he told NBC News. “We are not looking for confrontation. But we are making it clear that every country should respect the territorial integrity here, the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
Ukraine President Yanukovich was ousted by lawmakers after a deadly crackdown on anti-government protests. There has been concern from Western leaders that Russia may interfere with the Ukrainian revolution – an area that Russia has in the past considered part of its own domestic affairs.
Kerry stressed that the U.S. does not view the Ukraine situation as a “zero-sum game” between the West and Russia. Kerry referenced the Cold War-era movie in which Drago, a Soviet boxer played by Dolph Lundgren, takes on American Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, in an epic, patriotic battle between the two nations.
“We’re hoping that Russia will not see this as sort of a continuation of the Cold War. We don’t see it that way. We do not believe this should be an East-West, Russia-United States – this is not Rocky IV, believe me,” Kerry said, referencing the 1985 movie.
Kerry noted that Putin made a recent telephone call to Obama, and said that the Russian leader “committed to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and I think that’s incredibly important.”
“It would be very difficult for me to understand how Russia would reconcile its position on Libya, its position on Syria, its warnings against intervention in another country, and then not respect the sovereignty of Ukraine and the will of the people there.”
— Benjamin Fearnow