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updated: 3/24/2014 6:53 AM

Obama: Europe not East-West battleground

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  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte leave after their joint statement in front of Rembrandt's "The Nightwatch" at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Obama is attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, which will form the backdrop for an emergency meeting of Group of Seven leaders on Russia's annexation of Crimea.

      U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte leave after their joint statement in front of Rembrandt's "The Nightwatch" at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Obama is attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, which will form the backdrop for an emergency meeting of Group of Seven leaders on Russia's annexation of Crimea.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

AMSTERDAM -- President Barack Obama says that despite Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula away from Ukraine he does not view Europe as a battleground between the East and the West.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published ahead of his arrival in Amsterdam Monday, Obama says his message to European leaders is that Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to understand the economic and political consequences of his actions in Ukraine.

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Russia's actions have alarmed Europeans, but many European Union leaders worry about actions that would hurt their economic and energy reliance on Russia.

Obama concedes the sanctions he has threatened against Russian economic sectors could have worldwide effect.

Obama says: "If Russia continues to escalate the situation, we need to be prepared to impose a greater cost."

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