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Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin’s rationale for his incursion into Crimea was not “fooling anybody” and said Russian “meddling” would push states away from Moscow.

But Obama also noted what he said were “reports” that Putin, who earlier gave a press conference, was pausing for a moment to reflect on his options over the crisis.

Obama said the European Union and allies like Canada and Japan all believed Russia violated international law.

“President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers, maybe a different set of interpretations. But I do not think that is fooling anybody,” Obama said, at a school in Washington DC.

Obama, accused by political foes of showing weak leadership in the crisis, disputed the idea that Putin’s dispatch of thousands of troops into Crimea, part of Ukraine, was a sign of strength by the Russian leader.

He said instead that the move was a “reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling.”

“If anything, it will push many countries further away from Russia.”

Obama, hours after the United States unveiled a $1 billion support package for Ukraine in the form of loan guarantees, also pressed Congress to quickly pass an economic plan to aid the interim Kiev government.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

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WFormer President Trump, right, and former Attorney General William Barr

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Stunning new abuse-of-power revelations remind us of the Trump administration's complete disregard for democratic principles. We now know that over a span of years it took extraordinary legal measures, including gag orders and secret tribunals, in pursuit of email records from reporters at CNN and the Washington Post. Team Trump also unleashed the courts on Democratic members of Congress and their families trying to obtain private phone records, as well as secretly targeting a key White House attorney, who possibly fell under suspicion for not being sufficiently loyal to Trump.

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