THE HAGUE — U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Europe are united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Obama made the comments to reporters in the Netherlands ahead of an emergency meeting of the Group of Seven, or G-7, which focused on Russia's annexation of Crimea and coordinating a response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. The group is comprised of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. It decided to hold it's next summit in Brussels - instead of Sochi, Russia, in a move seen as a punishment untill Moscow backs down on it's Crimea annexation. Traveling with President Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed "strong concern'' about Russia's troop build up, warrning Moscow that further Russian moves on Ukraine would trigger wider sanctions, a senior State Department official said. The official said that the comments were made at meetings with Kerry's Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Kerry urged the Russians to "de-escalate the situation and pursue a dialogue with the Ukrainian government," the official said. President Obama's official purpose for coming to the Netherlands is to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, but Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula have become the main focus. The U.S. leader's aim is to build up support for further sanctions against Russia and economic aid for Ukraine's government, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Russia's future participation in the Group of Eight was on the agenda. “We believe there's no reason for the G-7 countries to engage with Russia going forward based on its behavior," Rhodes said. The U.S. administration has imposed visa restrictions and ratcheted up financial sanctions and it wants Europe to do the same. “Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people. We’re united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far,” President Obama said. Analysts say that may be a challenge for President Obama. EU members have imposed their own sanctions, but not as severe as Washington's. One reason is European nations have deep economic ties to Russia and are largely dependent on Russia for natural gas. President Obama is also looking beyond Europe for support in his effort to isolate Russia. On the sidelines of the nuclear summit, Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Beijing has questioned Russia's actions in Ukraine. In a rare move, China last week abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring Crimea's Russian-sponsored secession referendum illegal. On the sidelines of the nuclear summit, Mr. Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Beijing has questioned Russia's actions in Ukraine. In a rare move, China last week abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring Crimea's Russian-sponsored secession referendum illegal. Going into Monday's meeting with Mr. Obama, President Xi noted the two leaders have stayed in close communication and been in agreement on a number of important issues. It was a closed-door meeting, but a U.S. official said the Chinese leader affirmed that the principle of independence and sovereignty of nations was fundamental. China wants to see a deescalation and a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but is not considering sanctions. The Nuclear Summit has brought together 53 nations to talk about global denuclearization. Although the focus has largely turned to Ukraine, there were some successes Monday in efforts to reduce nuclear stockpiles. U.S. and Japanese officials announced Japan – a U.S. ally - will hand over hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium that it has held for decades. On Tuesday, President Obama will take part in a three-way summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.
— U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Europe are united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.