Jen Psaki Answers Questions about President Obama’s Interview on CNN

QUESTION: Russian media reports are interpreting comments that Obama made in an interview over the weekend as an indication that the U.S. might have been involved in some kind of effort to overthrow the – that led to the overthrow of the previous government. The quote that they’re focusing on is Obama saying, “after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” Any reaction to that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, let’s all refresh ourselves on the facts here. President – former President Yanukovych abdicated his responsibilities by fleeing Kyiv during a political crisis. He was then voted out of power by a near-unanimous vote of the Rada, including virtually all members of his own party. He lost legitimacy and Ukraine’s lawmakers in the Rada fulfilled their obligation to the people by maintaining unity and preserving a democratic government until President Poroshenko was elected on May 25th in elections that were largely in line with Ukraine’s international commitments and done with a respect of fundamental freedoms in the vast majority of the country. It is no secret that we worked with the Government of Ukraine, the opposition, with other stakeholders, to reach an agreement to put Ukraine back on track toward fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Ukraine for democracy, respect for human rights, European integration, and long-term economic growth. This effort included not just the United States but Russian and European government representatives as well. We were very vocal about our support for their transition and our support for economic assistance they needed, and assistance they needed to get through that transition period after those decisions were made by individuals who were formerly leading Ukraine.