Ohio Lawmakers Push Obama To Push Putin On Ukraine

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A 10TV survey of central Ohio's congressional delegation found all lawmakers urging president Obama to push Russian President Vladimir Putin to back off military activity in Ukraine, but none support American troop involvement to resolve the situation.

"Unfortunately, the United States is still in the position of having to lead around the world to avoid the kind of instability we see right now in Crimea," said Republican senator Rob Portman.  "This is incredibly important that we get this right."

Portman has called on Putin to "pledge support for a peaceful, non-interventionist resolution" with Ukraine.

Putin said today that he can use as much force as necessary to protect Russians in Ukraine, a position not shared by Democratic senator Sherrod Brown.

"Russia must respect Ukraine's sovereignty and immediately withdraw its troops from Ukrainian soil," said Brown.  "Ukraine's people have a right to decide their own future without interference from Russia. The United States and international community should utilize all diplomatic and economic options to address this act of aggression and secure the rights and borders of Ukraine."

Central Ohio Republican congressman Pat Tiberi criticized Obama for his handling of the situation in Crimea, but would not say whether Republicans would support additional force.

"There's no doubt that President Obama is approaching this crisis in the Ukraine with a weakened hand," said Tiberi.  "His handling of the Syrian situation, where he drew a line but enforced no consequences when that line was crossed, has diminished his credibility on the world stage. In this situation, he warned Russia not to go into the Ukraine, but within a day, Russia disregarded that warning and invaded. Unlike President Reagan who used a firm hand and diplomatic savvy to navigate the waning days of the cold war, President Obama's limited options are mostly of his own creation."

Democratic representative Joyce Beatty says a diplomatic solution is the best strategy.

"Like President Obama, I am troubled by the Russian military escalation in the Ukraine," said Beatty.  "Hopefully, the President, State Department, and our Allies can facilitate a dialogue through diplomatic means that results in upholding the sovereignty of the Ukraine and comes to a peaceful resolution to this on-going crisis."

Republican congressman Steve Stivers says the Obama administration should place diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia and then use economic sanctions.

"The United States and its allies cannot allow this aggression to stand," said Stivers.  "As part of a coordinated response, I urge the Administration to pursue an immediate, internationally-coordinated economic response which will isolate Russia and encourage an end to this crisis while beginning negotiations with our NATO partners to put Ukraine and Georgia on an accelerated timeline for admission into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to address the larger issue."