US President Barack Obama says Moscow does not want a war with Washington since it knows that the US military is "significantly superior" to that of Russia.
The Russians are "not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians," Obama claimed during an interview with CBS News on Wednesday.
He was responding to a question about a Russian fighter jet flying low over a US Navy ship in the Black Sea earlier.
"We don’t need a war," Obama said. "What we do need is a recognition that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with a whole range of their neighbors and it is not up to anybody, whether it is Russia or the United States or anybody else, to make decisions for them."
Furthermore in his remarks, the US president accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of being behind the unrest in Ukraine.
"What they’ve also done is supported, at minimum, non-state militias in southern and eastern Ukraine and we’ve seen some of the activity that’s been taking place there," Obama said.
Acting Ukrainian President Olexander Turchynov announced the start of an "anti-terrorist operation" against the protesters after they seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across the country’s eastern provinces.
The White House has backed the Ukrainian government’s military operation against pro-Russia protesters in the east of the country.