Fox's Wallace Falsely Claims “No Action Taken” In U.S. Response To Ukraine Crisis

Fox's Chris Wallace falsely claimed that the United States has taken “no action” following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ignoring numerous U.S. steps in response to the crisis.

Fox Falsehood: “No Action Taken” By United States To In Response To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

Fox's Wallace: “No Action Taken” By United States In Response To Russian Action. On the March 16 edition of Fox News' Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace opened a discussion of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and pending responses from the United States and allies by questioning the Obama administration's resolve in the face of Russian aggression, claiming that “there really has been no action taken against the Russians up to this point”:

WALLACE: Let me bring you in on this question of diplomacy, and also the question of resolve, Senator Corker. On Friday, after six hours of talks between Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov ended without agreement, Kerry talked about sanctions and then he said this.

[begin video]

SECRETARY KERRY: We hope President Putin will recognize that none of what we're saying is meant as a threat, it's not meant in a personal way.

[end video]

WALLACE: Senator Corker, “not a threat,” “not meant in a personal way,” the invasion of Crimea started over two weeks ago, and you talk about resolve, but there really has been no action taken against the Russians up to this point. And here you have Secretary Kerry saying “not personal,” “not a threat,” is the U.S. sending a message of resolve or weakness? (emphasis added) [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 3/16/14]

U.S. Has Taken Several Economic, Diplomatic, and Military Steps

U.S. Leading Boycott Of Upcoming Sochi G-8 Summit. On March 2, ABC News reported that ministerial officials from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan had jointly pledged “to suspend our participation in activities with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June” in response to Russia's incursion into Crimea. ABC News also reported “not-so-veiled threats” from American officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, to “kick Russia out altogether” from the Group of Eight. [ABC News, 3/2/14]

Obama Administration Suspended Trade Negotiations With Moscow. On March 3, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration had “suspended trade and military ties with Moscow” as part of what would likely be “a sharply escalating series of actions responding to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine”:

Among steps Monday, the U.S. said it would suspend talks with Russia aimed at boosting trade and investment, part of an effort to put pressure on Moscow after its military intervention in Ukraine.

U.S. officials in recent months had begun informal negotiations with Russian counterparts in an effort to boost economic ties. Compared with the size of their economies, Russia and the U.S. have a small trade relationship, representing just 1% of U.S. imports and exports from around the world.

But the suspension of trade ties carries potent symbolic significance. [The Wall Street Journal, 3/3/14]

U.S. Halted Military Engagements With Russia. In a March 3 statement, Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said the U.S. was terminating all military engagement with Russia in light of the crisis:

Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding, and reduce the risk of military miscalculation we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia. This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences. [NBC News, 3/3/14]

U.S. Withdrew Presidential Delegation From Sochi Paralympic Games. On March 3, USA Today reported that the United States had withdrawn its planned presidential delegation to the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games in protest to “host Russia's military action” in Ukraine. USA Today also reported that a British government delegation would “also boycott the Games” in protest. [USA Today, 3/3/14]

U.S. Military Increased Presence In States Bordering Russia. On March 5, NBC News reported that the “U.S. military is increasing its presence in Poland and the Baltics in response to the crisis in Ukraine.” Plans called for relocating six F-15 fighters and one KC-135 air refueling tanker from Britain to the Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania. In response to a request from the Polish government, the United States would also increase the number of airmen assigned to a training detachment with the Polish Air Force. [NBC News, 3/5/14]

White House Announced Visa Restrictions, Executive Order Authorizing Sanctions. During a March 6 press conference, White House press secretary Jay Carney outlined specific actions taken by the Obama administration in response to Russian aggression in Crimea, including newly authorized visa restrictions for Russian nationals and an executive order authorizing flexible sanctions against “individuals and entities responsible for undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine”:

Pursuant to the President's guidance, today the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of officials and individuals, reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This new step stands in addition to the policy already implemented to deny visas to those involved in human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine.

In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv. This E.O. is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate. [The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 3/6/14]

12 F-16 Fighters, 300 Troops Sent To Poland. On March 12, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon had decided to station indefinitely twelve additional F-16 fighter jets at Lask Air Base in Poland while increasing its troop deployment to the country by 300 personnel. [Los Angeles Times, 3/12/14]

Allies Following U.S. Lead In Crafting Sanctions

Reuters: European Union “Expected To Adopt” Similar Sanctions To Those Authorized By Obama. On March 13, Reuters reported that European Union leaders are “expected to adopt measures similar to those ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama.” A vote on the sanctions regime is scheduled for Monday, March 17. [Reuters, 3/13/14]