Barack Obama Calls Russia's Invasion of Ukraine 'Reckless' and 'Brazen'

Former President Barack Obama became the latest of the living former presidents to issue a statement condemning Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, joining George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

"Last night, Russia launched a brazen attack on the people of Ukraine, in violation of international law and basic principles of human decency," Obama said to begin his statement posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon. "Russia did so not because Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, but because the people of Ukraine chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy."

The statements from four of the five living former presidents leaves former President Donald Trump as the only one yet to release an official statement about the invasion, as he has been criticized for calling Putin's reasoning for escalating the conflict "smart" in a recent interview and at a fundraiser.

Trump appeared on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show Wednesday night as the reports of an invasion were escalating and repeatedly blamed the violence and military aggression on Biden and expressed his feelings that Biden's "weakness" prompted Putin to attack. Trump is scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday night, according to the program's website.

Obama's statement continued, "For exercising rights that should be available to all people and nations, Ukrainians now face a brutal onslaught that is killing innocents and displacing untold numbers of men, women, and children."

"People of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia's actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people. And every American, regardless of party, should support President Biden's efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia—sanctions that impose a real price on Russia's autocratic elites," Obama said.

He continued to say that while there may be economic consequences in the U.S. because of Russia's role in the energy industry, those should be consequences Americans are willing to face to support the freedom of a nation like Ukraine.

"Michelle and I will be praying for the courageous people of Ukraine, for Russian citizens who have bravely declared their opposition to these attacks, and for all those who will bear the cost of a senseless war," Obama concluded.

Bush, Clinton and Carter each voiced similar thoughts in their statements, condemning the attacks and encouraging Americans to support Ukraine.

"I stand with President Biden, our allies, and freedom-loving people around the world in condemning Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine," Clinton said. "Putin's war of choice has unraveled 30 years of diplomacy and put millions of innocent lives in grave danger, with the potential for mass civilian casualties in and huge displacements both within Ukraine's borders and beyond. The world will hold Russia and Russia alone accountable, both economically and politically, for its brazen violation of international law. I stand with the people of Ukraine and am praying for their safety."

Bush called it the "gravest security crisis" in Europe since World War II and said the U.S. and the rest of the world should not tolerate the "authoritarian bullying" tactics being employed by Putin, urging support from American citizens and politicians for Ukraine.

"Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine using military and cyber weapons violates international law and the fundamental human rights of the Ukrainian people," Carter said in a statement through his Carter Center in Atlanta. "I condemn this unjust assault on the sovereignty of Ukraine that threatens security in Europe and the entire world, and I call on President Putin to halt all military action and restore peace. The United States and its allies must stand with the people of Ukraine in support of their right to peace, security, and self-determination."

Update 2/24/22 6:54 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional context, information and quotes from the former presidents' statements.

Barack Obama Russia Ukraine Condemnation Former Presidents
Former President Barack Obama became the latest former president to issue a statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Above, Obama speaks during a memorial service for the late U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas on January 8. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images