Kerry likens Crimea 'fervour' to WWII build-up

2014-03-19 07:07
Secretary of State John Kerry. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

Secretary of State John Kerry. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Tuesday against any military incursion into eastern Ukraine and likened the "nationalistic fervour" fuelled by the Crimea crisis to the build-up before World War II.

Any moves by Russia to march into eastern Ukraine "would be as egregious as any step that I can think of that would be taken by a country in today's world, particularly by a country like Russia, where so much is at stake," Kerry said.

"Now I hope we don't get there," he told a gathering of students at the State Department, adding it "would be just an enormous challenge to the global community and it would require a response that is commensurate with the level of that challenge."

The top US diplomat said he did not want to start laying out options for any US or global response to any Russian move into eastern Ukraine "until we measure where we are" after Moscow absorbed Crimea into the Russian Federation.

"Today is egregious enough when you raise this nationalistic fervour which could in fact infect in ways which could be very, very dangerous," Kerry said.

"All you have to do is go back and read in history of the lead-up to World War II and the passions that were released with that kind of nationalistic fervour.

"And obviously there's a tough history of things like Czechoslovakia in 1968, where the alleged rationale for going into the country was to protect the people in it," he said.

"You can ask the Poles how they felt being 'protected' for all those years," Kerry added.

'Wrong side of history'

The United States on Monday unveiled a slew of sanctions against seven Russians in President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and warned of further moves.

"There are more to come," warned White House spokesperson Jay Carney, condemning Russia's "moves to formally annex" Crimea.

President Barack Obama has called for a G7 summit next week in The Hague to discuss the escalating showdown, as the interim leaders in Kiev authorised their troops to shoot in self-defence after both sides suffered their first casualties since pro-Kremlin forces seized Crimea nearly three weeks ago

"We are preparing additional sanctions," confirmed State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

"The power of the executive order yesterday is it provided us additional flexibility on who we would be able to sanction, what institutions we would be able to sanction."

Putin signed a treaty claiming Crimea as Russian territory after the Black Sea region overwhelmingly voted in favour of switching from Ukrainian to Kremlin rule.

While Putin has so far not been hit with any sanctions, Psaki said: "I'm not ruling anyone in or out. But the executive orders that have been signed provide broad authority".

Kerry said comments from Putin about what was happening in Crimea "just didn't jive with reality or with what's happening on the ground".

"And the president may have his version of history, but I believe that he and Russia, for what they have done, are on the wrong side of history."
Read more on:    g7  |  eu  |  barack obama  |  john kerry  |  russia  |  ukraine  |  us  |  ukraine protests

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a tendency to be too fixed on a set way of doing things today. You may get challenged and the best approach is to keep more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.