Eleven months after the Russian annexation of Ukraine, one far-reaching question still lingers over the future of the conflict there: Will sanctions against Russia be enough to deescalate the conflict? Or will greater international force be needed?
"The possibility of lethal defense is one of those options that's being examined," President Obama said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. "But I have not made a decision about that yet."
Obama also acknowledged the the current course of sanctions—while they have contributed to a collapsing Russian economy—have not yet changed Russian President Vladimir Putin's stance on backing pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. "It has not yet dissuaded Mr. Putin from following the course that he is on," Obama said.
"What's important for me," Merkel said on arming Ukraine against Russia, "is that we stand very closely together on the question of a new renewed diplomatic effort."
A German reporter asked Obama to consider the "red line" in Ukraine from the president's perspective as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Obama said there was no "specific point" at which "lethal defensive weapons would be appropriate here. It is the ongoing analysis of what can we do to dissuade Russia from encroaching further and further on Ukrainian territory."