President Obama said Wednesday that there would be "costs to Russia's violation of international law and encroachments on Ukraine," continuing his strong language as the volatile situation unfolds.
In an Oval Office meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Obama praised "the courage of the Ukrainian people" and their right to "determine their own destiny," but also delivered a stern warning to Russia.
"We have been very clear that we consider the Russian incursion into Crimea "¦ to be a violation of international law," Obama said. "We will stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to insist that territorial integrity is maintained."
The new Ukrainian leader remained defiant and said his country would "never surrender" to Russian action.
"Ukraine is and will be part of the Western world," Yatsenyuk told reporters after the meeting, an idea that Putin fears.
The prime minister said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeds in Crimea, he might turn to invading other parts of the country. To that point, Yatsenyuk said Ukraine is "absolutely ready and open to talks with the Russian Federation" to find a peaceful path forward.
The meeting was held to discuss strategies for a peaceful resolution to Russia's military intervention in Crimea, a sovereign territory of Ukraine. The talks come just days before a referendum by the Crimean Parliament to determine whether the region should secede and become part of Russia.