President Obama has issued another warning to Russian President Putin, saying that further action to destabilize Ukraine's interim government will result in consequences from both the United States and Europe.
Mr. Obama told CBS News that it is "absolutely clear" that Russia had violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by annexing Crimea last month, and that the Kremlin is using what he called "non-state militias" to foment instability in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Mr. Obama says he doesn't think Putin is interested in military conflict with the United States; he added - in a less than subtle warning to the Kremlin - that the U.S. maintains a significant military edge over Moscow.
The White House continues, meanwhile, to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva this morning for four-party talks with European, Russian and Ukrainian officials. Kiev's interim government is willing to offer amnesty to the armed separatist groups it says have carried out violence and seized buildings in the east, if Russia agrees to pullback support for those pro-Russian groups and withdraw the 40,000 troops that it has positioned on Ukraine's border, news reports say.
Mr. Obama did not specifically say whether Russia would face further sanctions if diplomatic talks fail. "What I've said consistently," he told CBS, "is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps, that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going to be consequences."
Honoring Veterans Today
President Obama and Vice President Biden honor the nation's veterans today and the sacrifices they have made by hosting the seventh annual Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride.
It's a motorcycle rally that helps "Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being," says a White House announcement. It also increases national awareness of those "who battle the physical and psychological damages of war."
The President also focuses on health care today; he'll meet with executives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; he later meets with a group of insurance executives.
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