“Sanctions are working as intended in putting enormous pressure and strain on the Russian economy,” President Obama told reporters August 6. “Somewhere between $100 billion and $200 billion of capital flight has taken place.”
He said President Putin can choose to resolve the issues in eastern Ukraine through diplomacy and peaceful means, recognizing that Ukraine is a sovereign country, or continue on a course that hurts the Russian economy and the Russian people.
“[T]he sooner that we can get back on a track in which there are serious discussions taking place to ensure that all Ukrainians are heard, that they can work through the political process, that they’re represented, that the reforms that have already been offered by the government in Kyiv are implemented to protect Russian speakers, to assure decentralization of power — the sooner that we move on those, and the sooner that President Putin recognizes that Ukraine is an independent country,” Obama said. “But in the meantime, sanctions are working the way they’re supposed to.”
In response to a reporter’s question about Russian troop movements and whether the United States should be providing arms to Ukraine, the president said that the United States has been “providing a whole host of assistance packages to the Ukrainian government and to their military, and we will continue to work with them to evaluate on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis what exactly they need in order to be able to defend their country and to deal with the separatist elements that currently are being armed by Russia.”