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Obama threatens Russia with sanctions over Ukraine

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US President Barack Obama has threatened Russia with sanctions as tensions between the two countries heats up over Ukraine.

“The strong condemnation that Russian has received around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history,” Obama told reporters on Monday.

“There are two paths that Russia can take at this point. Actions on the ground in Crimea are deeply troubling but what is also true is that over time, this will be a costly proposition for Russia. Now is the time to consider whether they can further their interests with diplomacy as opposed to force,” he said.

The US president noted that if Russia continues on present path, the United States will take a “series of steps – economic, diplomatic – that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and its status in the world.”

Washington and its Western allies are considering sanctions against Moscow, accusing Russia of preparing to launch a military intervention in Ukraine.

“What cannot be done is for Russia with impunity to put its soldiers on the ground and to violate basic principles that are recognized around the world,” Obama said.

Russian Black Sea Fleet also says it has no plans to launch an assault on Ukrainian military units in Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a military maneuver site close to the borders with Ukraine. Russian officials say the drills are aimed at boosting the capabilities of the Russian army.

The Russian parliament on Saturday unanimously approved Putin’s request to send Russian forces in Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”

However, Putin has not yet made a decision about sending troops.


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