Biden pressures Medvedev on troops

Vice President Biden urged Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to pull back Russian forces in Crimea in a phone call Monday morning, the latest development in Washington in the high-stakes standoff over Ukraine.

“The Vice President urged Russia to pull back its forces, support the immediate deployment of international monitors to Ukraine, and begin a meaningful political dialogue with the Ukrainian government,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden "made clear that if the situation in Ukraine is not resolved, Russia will face increasing political and economic isolation," a senior administration official added.

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According to a readout of the conversation provided by the Kremlin, via Interfax, Medvedev "declared that it is necessary to protect the interests of all Ukrainian citizens, including residents of Crimea, and citizens of Russia who are located in Ukraine.”

Medvedev also said Russia would go ahead with plans to build a bridge connecting Russia and Crimea.

Biden’s call, the latest administration warning to Russia over its troop deployments in eastern Ukraine, followed a 90-minute conversation between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Obama also discussed the developing situation with the leaders of Germany, Britain and Poland over the weekend.

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Russia’s deployment of thousands of troops across the Ukrainian border as a violation of international law and warned of consequences for Putin and the Kremlin.

Russian soldiers have surrounded a military base in Crimea and were seen patrolling the streets and government facilities in the Crimean capital Simferopol.

“He’s going to lose on the international stage,” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Russia is going to lose, the Russian people are going to lose, and he’s going to lose all of the glow that came out of the Olympics, his $60 billion extravaganza.”

Over the weekend, U.S. and European officials said they were suspending preparations for the upcoming G-8 meeting in Sochi in protest of the Russian aggression. During an appearance on CBS News, Kerry said visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation were all possible consequences if Moscow continued to interfere in Ukraine.

“American businesses may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this,” Kerry said. “These are serious implications.”

Biden and Kerry were in contact with Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk over the weekend.

— This report was updated at 12:51 p.m.

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