Feb 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Obama, Bush and Carter condemn Russia's "unjustified" attack on Ukraine

Collage of George W. Bush speaking on the left and Barack Obama speaking on the right in separate pictures
Photos: Alyssa Pointer/Pool and Octavio Jones via Getty Images

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine on Thursday, calling it "unprovoked and unjustified" and urging people around the world to stand with Ukraine.

Why it matters: Russian President Vladimir Putin's overnight invasion of Ukraine has caused dozens of civilian casualties and thrown thousands of Ukrainians into a panic to flee, and it's only just started. Russian forces are confirmed to have crossed the Ukrainian border by land, air and sea.

What they're saying: "Russia's attack on Ukraine constitutes the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II," Bush said in a statement.

  • He condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's "unprovoked and unjustified invasion" and urged the American government and people to put their full support behind Ukraine and its people "as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future."

Carter urged Putin to "halt all military action and restore peace," saying in a statement that the attack violates international law and the Ukrainian people's "fundamental human rights."

Obama said in a statement that Russia attacked "not because Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, but because the people of Ukraine chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy."

  • "For exercising rights that should be available to all people and nations, Ukrainians now face a brutal onslaught that is killing innocents and displacing untold numbers of men, women, and children."
  • "[E]very American, regardless of party, should support President Biden's efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia," Obama said, adding that any resulting economic consequences are "a price we should be willing to pay to take a stand on the side of freedom."

Go deeper: Ukraine-Russia crisis dashboard

Editor's note: This post was updated with a statement from former President Jimmy Carter.

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