Michelle And Barack Obama Share Strong Feelings About The Ukraine Situation

With much of the world coming out against Vladimir Putin's unprovoked violent military invasion of a democratic sovereign nation, world leaders — including President Joe Biden — have imposed economic sanctions on the Russian government. On February 25, personal sanctions on Putin were set to be imposed, which is a rare occurrence and would put Putin in the same league as other world leaders who have been sanctioned and no longer considered legitimate, including Kim Jong-un of North Korea and Bashar al-Assad of Syria, making him a practical pariah in the world stage.

When the Russian conflict in Ukraine began in 2014, Barack Obama was still president and Putin had invaded the Ukrainian border city of Crimea and claimed it was Russian territory. While the Obama administration did impose sanctions on the Russian government, some have argued those sanctions were too weak and came in too many increments to make a difference in Russia and Putin's behavior.

The U.S. government was also surprised by Russia's actions in Crimea at the time, according to Vox. While Obama no longer holds any power about what the United States does in this new conflict, he has released an especially strong statement against Putin's actions, offering feelings on behalf of him and his wife, Michelle Obama.

Barack Obama condemns Putin, praises Russian and Ukrainian people

As Russian troops make slow advances toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, former president Barack Obama released a statement condemning Russia's behavior. "The consequences of Russia's reckless actions extend beyond Ukraine's borders," Obama said. "This illegal invasion in the heart of Europe also threatens the foundation of the international order and security." 

Obama also stressed that what Vladimir Putin is doing undermines democracy on a fundamental level. As authoritarianism has been on the rise throughout Europe over the last decade, President Joe Biden has said one of the core missions of his presidency is to show the world that democracy works. Obama has been another staunch defender of democratic structures and warned that invading Ukraine without other countries fighting back can help fuel further proliferation of authoritarian regimes.

"For some time now, we have seen the forces of division and authoritarianism make headway around the world, mounting an assault on the ideals of democracy ... Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows where these dangerous trends can lead — and why they cannot be left unchallenged," the former president continued.

Obama ended the statement referencing his wife and former first lady, Michelle Obama, saying, "Michelle and I will be praying for the courageous people of Ukraine, for the Russian citizens who have bravely declared their opposition to these attacks, and for all those who will bear the cost of a senseless war."