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Obama in crisis talks over Ukraine

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 - 02:19

March 24 - President Obama has brought his hard line on Russia to Europe. But as Sonia Legg reports persuading European allies to do more to stop Moscow from moving deeper into Ukraine after annexing Crimea isn't proving easy.

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Admiring an old master - but while President Obama viewed Rembrandt's "Nightwatch" in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum - he was pondering a new problem. The biggest East-West confrontation since the Cold War. The U.S. has imposed tougher sanctions than Europe over Russia's annexation of Crimea. And Obama's hoping other G7 leaders will follow his lead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people, we are united in imposing cost on Russia for its actions so far, Prime Minister Rutte rightly pointed out yesterday that growing sanctions would bring significant consequences to Russian economy." So far the visa bans and asset freezes on individuals have done little to deter President Putin. And with a Crimeans queueing for new Russian passports western officials have largely given up on getting it back. Persuading Putin not to seize other parts of Ukraine is the focus now while avoiding self-inflicted wounds. Sarah Hewin is from Standard Chartered. SOUNDBITE: Sarah Hewin, EU Head of Research, Standard Chartered, saying (English): "The U.S. was one of the signatories guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial integrity after the break up of the Soviet Union so it's really a matter of ramping up those sanctions extending them out, potentially to start to target or at least to threaten to target economic factors rather than the ring of political players around Putin." Leaders of the G7 - which doesn't include Russia - do have the power to hurt Moscow. They've already suspended preparations for a G8 summit - which does include Russia. It was due to take place in Sochi in June. The UK's Prime Minister David Cameron hopes it will now be cancelled. (SOUNDBITE) (English): David Cameron, Britain's Prime Minister, saying: "We should be clear there's not going to be a G8 summit this year in Russia. That's absolutely clear. We'll be meeting tonight with several others countries of the G8 to determine the way forward. But frankly it is Russia that needs to change course." But no about turns are expected Russia's Foreign Minister knows the European Union does 10 times as much trade with Russia as the United States. Several key G7 members may not be quite so willing to wield the knife.

Obama in crisis talks over Ukraine

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 - 02:19

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