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As hostilities flare in Crimea, U.S. steps up pressure on Russia

2:58 PM, Mar 9, 2014   |    comments
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Ukrainian officers march at the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)



(USA TODAY) Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will travel to Washington this week to discuss the crisis with Russia over Crimea, international media reported Sunday.

Yatsenyuk announced his trip Sunday -- the same day he vowed that Ukraine won't give up "an inch" of its territory to Russia, Radio Free Europe reported.

"I am going to the United States to hold top-level meetings on resolving the situation unfolding in our bilateral and multilateral relations," Yatseniuk said at the start of a government meeting in Kiev, according to a Reuters report.

Yatsenyuk did not provide specific dates for his trip or any other details.

The U.S. and allies have been trying to develop a plan for international sanctions against Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine. The White House has issued visa travel restrictions against an unidentified number of people and entities accused of threatening Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial borders.

President Obama also signed an executive order authorizing the Treasury Department to levy financial sanctions against "individuals and entities" deemed responsible for Russia's military takeover in Crimea.

The United States and its allies are "united in our determination to oppose actions in violation of international law," Obama said last week.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $1 billion aid bill for Ukraine's fledgling government, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously condemned Russia's takeover of Crimea.

The European Union suspended talks with Russia on an economic pact and a visa deal. But EU leaders who gathered for an emergency summit last week were divided over imposing sanctions that could prompt economic retaliation from Moscow, a major energy supplier for the European Union.


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