WASHINGTON, March 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday denounced Russia's "incredible act of aggression" against Ukraine and threatened economic sanctions by America and its allies to isolate Russia.
The top American envoy called on Russia to consider other options to address its concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine, echoing a message broached by U.S. President Barack Obama in his 90-minute talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone a day ago.
"It's an incredible act of aggression," Kerry said on CBS's " Face the Nation" program. "It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country."
Putin on Saturday asked for and was granted authorization to use military force to protect Russian interests in Ukraine, a move that has sparked an immediate outcry from Western countries, which have been jockeying for influence in the East European country with Russia.
Ukraine's Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov on Friday appealed to Putin to stop Russia's "naked aggression" and withdraw from the Crimea peninsula in southern Ukraine, where Russia has its Black Sea Fleet based, as airports and parliament and government buildings there have been occupied by armed personnel.
"You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext," said Kerry, who also spoke to the foreign ministers of ten countries most engaged on Ukraine, and agreed with them over a threat to resort to economic sanctions to "isolate Russia with respect to this invasion."
Reaffirming what Obama has told Putin Washington's plan to boycott the Group of Eight summit slated for June in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, Kerry suggested that visa bans, asset freezes and other trade measures should motivate Putin to act.
"We're not trying to make this a battle between East and West, we're not trying to make this a Cold War," Kerry stated. "Nobody wants this kind of action, there are many ways to resolve this kind of problem."