President Barack Obama argued on Sunday the United States will be in a stronger position to deter Putin once he sees the world is unified in sanctioning Russia.
Obama rejected the idea that it should implement sanctions unilaterally and said the U.S. and Europe must act collectively.
The U.S. president also Russia isn't abiding by a deal reached to de-escalate the conflict. He said, quote, "Russia has not lifted a finger to help."
He also says there's strong evidence Russia is encouraging destabilizing activities in eastern and southern Ukraine.
At a press conference in Malaysia on Sunday, Obama said fresh international sanctions against Russia would send a message for it to halt its “provocation” in eastern Ukraine.
"It is important for us to take further steps sending a message to Russia that these kinds of destabilizing activities taking place in Ukraine has to stop," Obama said at a press conference in Malaysia.
The U.S. president rejected Russia’s portrayal of Ukraine crisis through a Cold War prism that pits Washington against Moscow, claiming that the real issue is Ukraine's independence and sovereignty.
His comments come the day after the G7 nations announced new sanctions against the country which could be implemented within days. The group of countries said Moscow had not acted according to an agreement forged in Geneva aimed at easing tensions in Ukraine.
"So long as Russia continues down a path of provocation rather than trying to resolve this issue peacefully and de-escalate it, there are going to be consequences and those consequences will continue to grow," Obama said.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claimed Russia was provoking Ukraine into a war, citing the fact it had violated the country's airspace seven times overnight Friday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Washington was concerned over confrontational acts such as troop movements along Russia’s border with Ukraine. Kerry also cited Russia’s backing of separatists which he said "are undermining stability, security and unity in Ukraine.”
While Moscow denied any transgression by its warplanes, Yatsenyuk cut short a visit to the Vatican as concern grew that the tens of thousands of Russian troops conducting military drills on the border could invade.
Lavrov has downplayed the event and has called for "urgent measures" to calm the crisis, which has plunged East-West relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.
A Western diplomat warned: "We no longer exclude a Russian military intervention in Ukraine in the coming days."
The diplomatic source noted that Russia's U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, "has been recalled urgently to Moscow" for consultations.
(With AFP and AP)