US and EU sanctions against Russia working - Obama
U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia are working, and the United States expects Moscow to take steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, U.S. President Barack Obama has said.
"Sanctions are working the way they're supposed to," he said at a press conference, noting that the United States is waiting to see if Russia will take steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.
Obama also called for a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.
He said that serious discussions were needed to ensure that "all Ukrainians are heard, that they can work through the political process."
Obama said that the reforms that have already been offered by the government in Kyiv were implemented "to protect Russian speakers, to assure decentralization of power."
"The sooner that we move on those, and the sooner that President [Vladimir] Putin recognizes that Ukraine is an independent country, it's only at that point where we can say that the problem has truly been solved," he said.
He also noted that Russia had a choice: either to resolve the Ukrainian issue through diplomatic channels or face new sanctions if it continues this course.
Obama also said that the United States was ready to provide "a whole host of assistance packages to the Ukrainian government and to their military," however, he added, "the best thing we can do for Ukraine is to try to get back on a political track."