March 6th, 2014
09:10 PM ET

President Obama, Putin talk 'off-ramp' option in Ukraine

Pres. Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, talked for an hour Thursday afternoon, with the U.S. president stating "Russia's actions are in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty" and that there is a diplomatic way out, according to the White House.

The call came after Obama issued another warning to Russia and signed an order to impose economic sanctions after the Crimean parliament voted to separate from Ukraine.

The president says the U.s. and it's allies will not just stand by and watch.

"The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law," Obama said. "Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."

Russia continues to solidify its position with its military, moving a partially-sunk Russian ship, to block seven Ukrainian vessels in Crimea.

In addition, Russia is conducting large-scale defense drills about 280 miles from the Ukrainian border. Russian authorities said the drills are part of a regular combat training cycle, according to the news agency. The show of force is the backdrop of a deteriorating relationship between the region of Crimea and the UKrainian government.

The White House turned up the pressure with the announcement of new economic sanctions that also include expanding visa restrictions.

U.S. paves way for sanctions over Ukraine, Europe threatens to do same

Both the U.S. and Russia continue to try to find a diplomatic solution, but after a second meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Russia says it has not found any common ground.

They agreed to continue talking "over the course of the next hours, the next days" to try to find a political solution to end the crisis, Kerry told reporters following the meeting.

OutFront: Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department.

Filed under: International • News • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
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