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Russia's Crimea action to dominate Obama's Europe trip

Economic sanctions will remain the primary weapon as the US and its European allies tackle the Ukraine crisis, Obama administration officials said.

President Barack Obama travels across the Atlantic next week and will seek a cohesive stance from European leaders unnerved by Russia's annexation of Crimea but cautious about the economic punishment the US says it is willing to unleash.

President Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama will travel to Europe next week. Credit: Kevin Dietsch/DPA/Press Association Images

"Our interest is not in seeing this situation escalate and devolve into hot conflict," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said.

"Our interest is in a diplomatic resolution, de-escalation and, obviously, economic support for Ukraine, and to the extent that it continues to be necessary, further cost imposed on Russia for its actions."

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Obama administration impose Russian sanctions

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the crisis in Ukraine.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the crisis in Ukraine. Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Obama has come out to condone Russia's actions in Crimea by imposing sanctions on key individuals.

The US has said it is imposing sanctions on 11 people. Those include Russian government officials - including aides to Russian President Putin, Vladislov Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, Crimea-based separatist leader Vladimir Konstantinov and ousted Ukrainan President Viktor Yanukovych.

He said: "The future of Ukraine must be decided by the people of Ukraine. Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected." He continued by saying the Crimean referendum won't be recognized by the international community.

"We will calculate a response if Russia chooses to escalate or de-escalate the situation. We are standing firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine."

Obama warns Russia ongoing Ukraine crisis has a cost

US President Barack Obama has warned Russia that the West will be forced to apply a cost to Moscow if it fails to change course in the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama held face-to-face talks with the new Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in the White House and told reporters, "We will stand with Ukraine."

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine is ready for talks and vowed, "We will never surrender" to Russia.

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Obama to host Ukraine's PM at the White House

US President Barack Obama will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk at the White House on Wednesday.

The White House called the meeting, which comes just days before a referendum on secession by Crimea, a "show of support for Ukrainian sovereignty."

President Obama will host Ukrainian leader Arseny Yatseniuk Credit: Reuters

The leaders are set to talk about "how to find a peaceful resolution to Russia's ongoing military intervention in Crimea that would respect Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said.

Read: Obama urges Putin to accept a diplomatic solution

Obama discusses ongoing Ukraine crisis with EU leaders

President Obama discusses Ukraine situation with EU leaders. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Pool via CNP

President Obama made a series of phone calls on Saturday to world leaders about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, including Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the White House said.

He also held a conference call about the situation with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Obama urges Putin to accept a diplomatic solution

President Barack Obama has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the terms of a potential diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

In their second phone conversation in the past six days, Obama outlined the terms of a diplomatic "off-ramp" that US officials are promoting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in September.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in September. Credit: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/Press Association Images

Under terms of the deal, Russia would pull back troops to bases in Crimea, allow international monitors in to ensure the rights of ethnic Russians are respected and consent to direct talks with Ukraine officials.

"President Obama indicated that there is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically," the White House said in a statement.

Obama spoke to Putin 'for an hour' on Ukraine

US President Barack Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hour to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Pro-Russian demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest rally in Donetsk.
Pro-Russian demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest rally in Donetsk. Credit: REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin

"President Obama emphasised that Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners," the White House said.

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