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Reporter, Russia expert analyze Obama’s call for diplomatic solution to Ukraine conflict




German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama hold a joint news conference in the East Room after meetings about the situation in Ukraine and other topics at the White House February 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Belarus to continue talks aimed at de-escalating the war in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama hold a joint news conference in the East Room after meetings about the situation in Ukraine and other topics at the White House February 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Belarus to continue talks aimed at de-escalating the war in Ukraine.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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As fighting continues in Ukraine, peace talks are expected to restart among the major players.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Washington today to speak with President Obama about the crisis, and world leaders have increased their attention on the issue in hopes of a diplomatic solution.

Russia is currently under sanctions from the US and the EU, yet sanctions have not stopped Russian support of opposition fighters in the separatist-held area of Donetsk. EU leaders are considering ramping up sanctions, but they have decided to preliminarily wait in order to give diplomacy a chance. On the domestic front, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) supports arming Ukraine, and President Obama has made it clear that supplying weapons has not been taken off the table.

It is at present unclear if President Obama and EU leaders will succeed in their diplomatic efforts or how they will address the crisis if diplomacy fails. Some have suggested creating a demilitarized zone between the separatist region and Ukraine. Others have proposed a ramping up of sanctions. But the West is encountering the two-fold problem of stemming a crisis that has left thousands dead in Europe and tackling an emboldened Russia that is continuing to expand its presence after its annexation of Crimea.

Can diplomacy solve the crisis in Ukraine? What should the West do if diplomacy breaks down?

Guest:

Angela Greiling-Keane, White House correspondent for Bloomberg News. She was at the Obama-Merkel press conference this morning.

Robert English, Director of the USC School of International Relations; he’s an expert on Ukraine and the politics of Russia and former Soviet states.



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